Consciousness,  Practice

The Sensation of Soul

“We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether
the wax and the figure impressed on it are one. ”  – Aristotle
Gurdjieff speaks of the crystallization of a force through spiritual effort that has the capacity to withstand the torrent of external assaults we experience regularly.  This force is the place where human and Divine collide – an interface that we call soul.  He sometimes describes this force as a “finer substance” which can be felt distinct from the denser vibration of our personality and physical reality.  As you traverse the spiritual path of yoga (or otherwise), the question is:  Can you sense the presence of this “finer substance” within yourself?

Long before this question has tangible relevance to our lives is a question of equal import:  Can you sense the position of your feet in Warrior I?  The feeling of your sacrum in Cobra?  The movement of your diaphragm in Headstand?  Just as “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” the ability to sense your soul begins with the feeling of your everyday self.

In classes lately I have been guiding my students into experiencing the sensation of bone, muscle and skin in various postures.   Each of these layers of physicality has a particular feel to it, a vibratory quality that distinguishes one from the other.  Try it!  Wherever you are try pushing into your chair with your arm and feel the action of the bone, muscle and skin with your effort.  If you were to do this long enough an emotion may arise, or a thought which also has a different vibratory quality from the dense physical aspects already at play.  This is the beginning of being able to distiguish various types of “energy” within yourself.  As you hone the ability to sense the ever fluctuating movements of your every day being, in asana or otherwise, you stand a chance at also sensing the presence of a force that is different from the cornucopia of day to day experiences.  It is important to remember that every moment experienced with attention is a spiritual one.  Every time you become aware of the experience of challenge, awkwardness or relief in your asana you are honing your capacity to experience the sensation of soul.