Consciousness and the physical body

The material universe isn’t created out of nothing.
It is an accumulation of subtle energies.
Our own body is a network of cells, which are an accumulation of molecules, which in turn are formed by atoms. These were previously thought to be the smallest particle in natures existence but with the development of scientific technology, it was soon found out that Atoms consist of protons, neutrons and electrons and that those are made up by smaller fundamental particles like quarks and leptons.
Wether this is the end of the line or not is not yet clear, we may be surprised by new findings at some time in the future where technology might have advanced even further. In fact it is quite likely that we will never get to the “end of the line”.

Eternity seems to be a given, only whether it is the eternal rhythm of the birth and death of new particles and organisms or the idea of one basic eternal matrix, or core of the cosmos (as dualistic Samkhya philosophy suggests),  that gives birth to everything else makes a great – and long lasting – debate.

According to all Indian philosophy the subtle always precedes the gross. Which is only common sense, as to build a molecule, the atoms had to be there first.

In the non-dualistic teachings of the tantric philosophy for example, it is pure consciousness that lies at the source of every living organism, while every molecule, every cell, even every thought form of these organisms are an expression of this eternal consciousness, endowed with it’s own cosmic intelligence.

If we think of our bodies that way, we recognise that each cell in our body is a perfect expression of our own pure consciousness (soul) and has it’s own, living intelligence which never tires to work only for the purpose of our soul’s higher good – which is to experience life in order to evolve, to expand our consciousness until all boundaries are dissolved and it merges with it’s highest and purest form, unbound to any individual life or karmic causalities.

We also realise that our bodies are far from being just mechanical constructions (as modern medicine may sometimes try to make us believe) but in fact are in constant movement. Never still, cells being born, maturing and growing, heart beating rhythmically, molecules in constant movement and communication with each other. Our body is in fact a never ending process, even after we die, when the clusters of molecules and atoms break up, having fulfilled their purpose, and re-join the earth’s own connective tissues – the soil, the water, the air – only to form again at another time to fulfil a new purpose.

We often think of our bodies as one entity, made up of different kinds of tissues, a skeleton, muscles, etc. But in fact, each of our cells has a skeleton of it’s own, different tissues and organs and acts within it’s own intelligence and means of communication.
Stem cells for example respond to the amount, and the kind of stress they are put under and develop, accordingly, into tissue cells that can resist the amount and type of stress they have been under -for instance, if they have been under a lot of stress they may turn into stronger bone cells, etc. They learn and are shaped through their experiences, just like we are.
Understanding this, we begin to realise that every act we impose on our bodies – be it what food we eat, how we move, what yoga posture we hold, how we breathe and even how we think and feel – is a direct communication with our intelligent cells. And our cells listen and respond accordingly.
And what’s more – they are not alone.
Our bodies are made up of about 40 trillion human cells – which comprises only about 10 % of the total amount of cells in our bodies. The rest are foreign organisms – the cells of bacteria and viruses, most of which are “friendly” and are carrying out essential tasks for us, mainly in our digestive and immune system – our lives literally are depending on them. So that means that 90 % of us are not really “us” – which really puts a different perspective on the idea of being interconnected!
Viewing our bodies not as mechanical machines but as a multitude of living, intelligent expressions of consciousness continuously acting in servitude of a greater purpose may help us to keep in mind our own responsibility to offer respectful communication filled with love and wisdom toward our own bodies – and the bodies of all other beings, as we all have in common the same consciousness that also pervades the whole universe.
And it is this consciousness that (according to non dualistic Indian philosophies) manifests in intelligent awareness, thoughtforms, emotions and eventually the physical realm.
Consciousness creates awareness, awareness creates thought, thought creates emotion and emotion creates physiology.
Therefor, to create true change in your body or any other aspect of your life, it has to begin with connecting with your own consciousness. Becoming aware and practicing extended awareness that can eventually permanently influence the more subtle realms of thought, emotion and the physical body.

Our nervous system gives us the ability to communicate with our surroundings. We can not only directly taste and touch anything outside (or inside) our bodies but even connect with the wider surrounding via our sense of sight, hearing and smell. Our nerve endings pass on those messages to our internal system so our bodies can respond accordingly.
Waves of energy vibration (electrical impulses, according to traditional western science) pulsating through neurones, are continuously communicating the dynamics of life to our bodies.
The specific dynamics of life in our modern times however have, as we are all well aware of, become increasingly overwhelming, confusing and contradictive to our inert and instinctive nature and can hardly be understood by the simple processes of our cells without causing havoc within the living organism that we call our body.
However we do have a very powerful means to control this overstimulating communication of the nervous system and that is our breath.
The breath has a very direct influence on wether the pulsating messages of the nervous system are delivered in a clear, calm and steady way, in agitated panic or are disrupted and lost on the way.
The breath can bind the intelligent consciousness of our cells to our the intelligent consciousness of our mind. It interacts between the outside and the inside world, between our  body and our mind. It can help to unify our whole being, giving us a sense of wholeness. (Yoga = to unite)

Each action we take, each Yoga pose we execute, each bite of food we take, is a communication. We can choose what we communicate and how – if we are aware of what we are doing.
To be aware 100% of the time and able to act only out of wisdom, love and respect for our bodies and those of other living beings is a very difficult task for any human being living on this planet.
But as with everything, practice makes – eventually – perfect.

For me, this practice begins on the Yoga mat. Here we can become aware of this amazing, vibrating, living expression of our true self – our body. We can truly take the time to pay attention and listen. We can communicate by placing the right kind of stresses on areas of our body that will result in stronger, healthier cells who can do their work optimally, like the removal of blockages and unwanted organisms. We stretch, so our body can experience greater freedom of movement (in the external as well as the internal micro environment of our body). We remain aware so we can consciously feel and project the love and respect we can give to our body.
And we can breathe. We breathe in a way that will tell our nervous system: It’s okay. Everything is safe. No need to panic anymore. You can relax now.
And with this message – of safety and relaxation – we can carry out even the most difficult tasks, or the most challenging asanas without the accumulation of stresses that are too much for us to handle.

Our mind becomes clear, our emotions are more balanced and our physical body cells can use their energy for what it was really intended – the greater good of serving YOU.

About sunshineyogawexford

Yoga classes and workshops in Wexford/Ireland. Dynamic Vinyasa, deeply nourishing Yin Yoga, Yoga philosophy and Kids classes.
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