Kula Grad Series: I am not my Body.
By: Jess Berry
There are so many things that I have taken inspiration from in this course - the holistic approach, the community living, the vibration of sound with it’s healing potential, the uninhibited love felt from our teachers, the noble silence and mindful selection of words, the yoga sutras … I could go on and on.
In this essay, I want to focus on the klesha, Abhinivesha, and how this course has inspired a new perspective on this klesha. This course has giving new meaning to my understanding and application fo the yamas and niyamas as well.
I first understood Abhinivesha as the fear of physical death, only. I came across this concept while reading the book “Fear” by Osho, and I felt so frustrated because he was linking all fears back to the fear of death. At the time, I felt my fears were unrelated to the fear of death. I did not feel scared of physical death.
Reading through the sutras during this course, I considered how I related to the yamas, niyamas, klesha and how they all were manifested in my life. Abhinivesha I disregarded, unable to see or unwilling to see that fear of death was much more than the physical.
Throughout the course, it became clear to me that Abhinivesha manifested not as fear of physical death, but as the death of my stories, and more specifically the loss of my physical body with the stories I had about it (what it was capable of, what it should be able to do). There are stories that I have wanted to let go of for a long time, but fear held me back from releasing them.
In hindsight, I have been overly attached to my physical looks for years, viewing it almost as a currency, something that earns me self worth according to what it looks like and can do.
This attachment bred different kleshas in my life; Asmita, the possession of my physical body and ego attached to it; Raga, clinging to the idea of how this physical body should be; and finally, Abhinivesha; fear of losing this physical body. Eventually, it lead to Dvesa; an aversion or dislike if my body didn’t align with the unrealistic image of how it should be. This manifested in negative self talk, and developed unhealthy samskaras surrounding my physical body.
I experienced the loss of control over my body for the first time a couple years ago. I was unable to see, speak or move, but I could hear what was going on around me. I was terrified, but I repressed this fear, and disregarded what this experience was maybe trying to tell me.
When I injured my back last year, it felt similar to an identity crisis because it pierced through the Asmita story I had built surrounding who I was. I tried to repress the pain again, treating my injury and healing as a fight against my body, rather than my body trying to communicate with me, and attempting to heal by reuniting mind, body and spirit. True to my samskaras, I tried to shame my body back to health.
During the breath work, I experienced the loss of my physical body once more. This time though, the fear eventually subsided, and with it came the realization that there is a withhold on the physical body.
However, there is existence beyond that.
I am not my body.
I cannot possess my body.
Just as we were encouraged to do in meditation, I could visualize the universe breathing my breathe into me, then covering over me like a blanket and dissolving into me.
This, to me, feels like the karma of my injury. This was the lesson I was supposed to learn, that the universe is trying to teach me, to unidentify from this physical body, and the powerful hold that the stories around it have over my soul. By no means, am I done learning the lesson.
I want to thank our amazing group for helping to give me the tools to navigate this lesson. I will likely be working on this for the rest of my life, but I’m leaving here with a new sense of excitement about this.
I feel myself starting to speak more positively to myself; questioning whether I would say the things I say to other people to myself; observing when my intention becomes a manifestation of my stories and sense of I, me and mine; to see my darkness as positive lessons and through this perspective transmit them into light, love and MUSH!
Mush to you ALL!