In this third segment of the The Way of the Elbow’s series on Balance, let us consider the reciprocity of (im)balance between mind & body, and examine the possibilities for integration.
PHYSICALLY, When a structure is imbalanced, a destination on the floor is not far-off; certain immutable laws of physics doom this unhappy arrival. The Rolfing® logo presents the human body schematized as a stack of blocks. With a rudimentary knowledge of the principles of physics, we understand that a tower built of blocks thus askant will not stand for long. We ourselves fail to fall over immediately only because (mercifully) to reduce the human body to a stack of blocks is a gross oversimplification—compensatory systems come into play in such cases. Yet when our skeletal structures lack alignment, the muscles & fascia of our bodies must reconcile the mechanical imbalance. Such an enterprise is an inevitable source of tension. This tension resonates through all chambers of our being. Often such tension becomes habitual & we cease to notice it. One task of the Rolfer™ is to reawaken a client’s perceptive abilities so that she can once again come to notice such subconscious contractions & begin to exorcise them.
PSYCHOLOGICALLY, The process is no different: the mind mirrors the physical realities of rude Newtonian mechanics. We find that when our thoughts waver, our “structures” falter. Lacking the capacity to arrive at balance of the mind, the body will struggle to sustain any form of mechanical rectitude, as will all our affairs. Imbalance reverberates through all aspects of our being, from a wobbly body to a frenetic mind.
To resurrect the dichotomy from Part I of this series, we can say that the psyche that adopts the qualities of chaos or rigidity will never support a dynamic alignment of the body. An expression of chaos might be to chase every random thought-train that happens to caper through the mind-scape. In another act of figurative necromancy, recall the cloud-capped mountain-metaphor from this post’s predecessor: imagine if this geologic Titan were to chase after the roving clouds. To a thought, a-float in the welkin of the mind, one could hardly ascribe more substance than to such atmospheric phenomena as the aforementioned nimbo-stratus vagabonds. And yet we often lack the equanimity of our Alpine counterparts of this analogy—whereas the mountain remains steadfast, we quickly lose all poise. And whereas, therefore, a mountain is never toppled by such nebulous distractions, our fates are often otherwise.
Rigidity might appear as over-effort. Striving only augments the net tension within the body-mind system. If such an over-lusty individual manages to balance, he does so not because of this heroic effort, but in spite of it. Balance is an activity for the instinctual lizard brain & body—striving of the conscious mind will only interfere in an enterprise for which it has no capacity.
Most interestingly both rigidity & chaos almost invariably arise in quick succession. Occasions wherein our balance falters represent the dissolution of any integration betwixt these polarities twain. We frantically oscillate between the two extremes of our stipulated dichotomy:
Dionysus sends chaotic thoughts about, Zeus-like, hurling lightning-bolts through the vaulted heavens of our ken.
Apollo sculpts them to appear the finest figments we could imagine & we vow to acquire them.
The apparitions of our dreamscapes deceive us, we take these tantalising shadows to be truth, & attach our desire to the most evocative among them. The rigidity of this attachment becomes our downfall and, finally, we fall down.
How do we rectify such situations? Strive to integrate these opposing impulses! Between chaos & rigidity we find the fine pivot-point of balance! To reject any pole is already to forfeit this delicate equilibrium…integrate them, embrace them both, allow them both to co-exist & BALANCE will arise!