One Answer Lies in the Divided Self

August is coming to a close and life is busy at Nature’s Narrative. As we speak I am working my way through creating courses and free offerings that will be of service to you in the future. This process of creation has been full of surprises.

Thankfully I have joined a group of kick-ass ladies – all of whom are hell-bent on elevating and empowering their fellow humans.

As a university professor I had assumed that creating courses for Nature’s Narrative (outside the university setting) would be a piece of cake. Ha! Turns out talking about the role of nature in Japanese culture is not the same as talking about the role of liberation in daily life.

Why is that?

Perhaps one answer lies in the divided self.

The divided self – at least for me – manifests most clearly when I am out of touch with my body. Something comes between me and me. I become at odds with myself, ‘of two minds’. I am not integrated.

The reasons vary. It could be my own expectations for myself (they overshoot my capabilities). Or it could be me trying to please my inner critic (judgement often results in the divided self: the accused and the accuser).

Two days ago I bruised my right wrist getting up from the floor.

The word ‘injury’ comes from the Latin ‘in’ which means ‘not’ and the Latin root ‘iur/ius’ which means ‘right’. This is the same root for ‘jury’. A jury decides whether one’s actions are ‘right’.

Unlike a jury, knowing what is right for your body is a very personal – not to mention important – decision. But this is a decision we make for ourselves at every moment of every day.

I injured myself because I was not inhabiting/dwelling in my body ‘right’.

When we dwell in our body/mind incorrectly (not right) accidents happen. I had a conversation with a young man (the day after I injured my wrist) who had a traffic accident and spent a month in the hospital. His injury was ‘not right’ because he was in a situation that was ‘not right’. He was working at a job he did not like and in a relationship that needed to change. He was treating himself ‘not right’ and so he injured himself. In actuality he was injuring himself all along. He just never paid attention until the ‘injury’ became dramatic (an accident).

This notion of using your body ‘right’ is what underlies the use of mudra during mindfulness practice. After thousands of years humans have discovered that there are certain ways we can use our bodies (specifically our hands) to support our body/minds in ways that promote health and well-being.

Yoga uses the same principle. Yoga (same root as ‘yoke’) means ‘union’. Yoga teaches us ways to use our bodies ‘right’ (asanas) to facility union of our body/mind within ourselves.

When we get injured, injuries can be a wake up call as to what is ‘not right’ in our lives and this might lead us to consider making changes.

I have an appointment with the gym on Tuesday.

A divided self leads to injuries because a part of the self is not being heard. The intimate, healthy, and vital relation between our body and our mind has been compromised. Perhaps even separated. It is because I am not treating myself right that I become injured. The ‘not right’ becomes dramatically visible.

Perhaps we can think about injuring others in the same light. When we injure others we are treating others ‘not right’.

The invitation here is to treat yourself – as well as others – ‘right’. In this way we can all remain safe; i.e. uninjured..

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