Here is the familiar dilemma:
I have recognised a habit that I wish to change—this is a conscious process. But the habit is habitual, which is to say, sub-conscious. Therefore, it’s like trying to eat spaghetti with a spoon. We naturally identify ourselves with our voluntary actions & thought processes: “I lost my checkbook,” we say, but never “I beat my heart,” or “I grow my fingernails.” It should come as no surprise that to the mallet of conscious thought everything looks like a nail. For this reason, if it fits our disposition, we hammer every malady in sight & end up with a royal mess of marinara sauce & the said habit persists.
Evidently we must employ another method.
This is the true teaching of the fishmonger’s fables: to foster fertile conditions for our bodies to express their natural intelligence instead instead of heavy-handedly pouring our efforts into bottomless chasms such as that between the conscious & unconscious. The previous paragraph’s paradox demonstrates that there is nothing we can do, in the conventional sense of this verb, to directly effect change.
Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills the gardeners
If we can appreciate such wisdom even from the lips of Shakespeare’s greatest villain, our understanding will ripen indeed. We don’t grow corn—rather we sow it, then tend the plot. We leave the real doing up to Nature. Our individual voluntary action constitutes one sliver of this lofty mover.
Consider other metaphors to illuminate this method from novel perspectives:
Ordinarily, we conceive of a king as a singular DESPOT. We imagine a sole figure in whom is vested an unconditional & plenary authority over his subjects. But this conception suffers from an analogous mistake to the horticultural conceit: namely it fails to appreciate the true nature of the relationship between the metaphors’ two parties. Indeed the roles of king & subject are mutually contingent. Attempt to imagine one or the other in isolation & observe the entire schema dissolve into stuff & nonsense. It is the charge of a monarch to provide fertile conditions for the his people; in this way, they depend on him. Conversely, an emperor with no subjects is just a naked lunatic—who will sew his clothes?
Bottoms need tops & a king depends on his subjects—the relativity is absolute!
Indeed such a monarchy functions as a single organism. The figure at the head is partly just a figure-head.
Pencils have points & they also have erasers—these aspects are different, yet the thing remains one pencil.
Likewise the two poles of a magnet.
Every wave has a crest & it has a trough.
When was the last time you met a fellow with a front & no back?
Now see the mind, then see the body, then see that they are mutually dependent & finally one!
To stipulate any cleft is pure nonsense & deserves a belly-laugh, like all other absurd conventions.
When we rectify our understanding so that it conforms with the truth, we alleviate a long-standing subliminal tension of continually straining to reconcile to contradictory models. To appreciate the distinct yet interdependent roles of mind & body in all our activities allows us to cultivate them together in their fullest expression. This cleft was a chasm into which life’s ease interminably flowed as long as we sustained such mistaken understanding. The rift now mended, our chalice holds the draught of joy:
My cup runneth over
we can say at last.