One thing that I am committed to my growing son is to offer a fairy tale story to him every night before bedtime. It’s a beautiful moment that I know he will always remember because I remembered one of my childhood’s favourite pastime was to read all the library’s fairy tales in a small town where I grew up. I used to believe that one day, the stories that I was a part of would turn into my own fairy tales, and I would one day meet my Prince Charming and live “happily ever after” where the “evil stepmothers and witches” could no longer get near to me again.
Till now, I somehow know deep in the truest self, the part that still believes in fairy tales still alive within me. For me, the most amazing things in life did not happen during childhood. The details was history. But from hindsight, some familiar patterns when I entered adulthood seem to produce that relatable feeling I had reminiscing back to the time when I was a fairy tales dreamer.
When I was young, it made sense then that “happily ever after” existed externally and to be achieved through ambition and willpower. The only lesson I learned and relearned as I journeyed into adulthood is that evil stepmothers and witches’ spell are everywhere while Prince Charming is nowhere to be found. It did not take long for me to discover that “happily ever after” is all people seek-for all their lives. We share the same desire to be happy and to avoid suffering.
That lead me into the wonderful world of Yoga and joined the rest of the “serious seekers” from diverse school of Yoga traditions that seem determined to learn more about this mystery of spiritual practice that promises eternal happiness. More than ten years into Yoga, I realise that no insight will be gained by imitating practices which promise one thing but developed under a totally different direction. Everyone is preaching their own “Yoga”.
While I am writing this, someone very dear to me is fighting cancer battle and crying her heart out for the Mighty One to take her life as she could no longer cope with the excruciating pain which is tormenting her in most of her remaining living hours. She had abandoned her body long time ago when things started to fall apart. I don’t know much about cancer care and my anatomical knowledge does not serve any practical purpose when life situation challenges the relationship with our body.
I mean, real life threatening situation can happen anytime to anyone and when that happen to me, where should I place Yoga in my life? How do I bring Yoga into real life when the sunshine has become unbearable, flowers are no longer beautiful and the sound of birds are a nuisance to the listening ear? Into that creepy forest that Snow White escaped through, will she still gripped on to “doing good and trusting in the good”?
When Gert was here last year, he talked about developing “intimate emotional relation with our body akin to building healthy relationship with our partner/spouse”. At that time, he was teaching directly to my heart. To some extent, we abandoned our body too when we moved from B to C.
When I came across Gert’s book, Yoga Critical Alignment, I felt strong sense of connection with the deep belief I had when I first involved in Yoga as spiritual practice.
Although most of us never live a day without food and clothing but somehow the food, clothing and roof over our heads can never touch the growing frustration, anxiety, loneliness, anger, hatred, shame and guilt that permeate all our growing years. When we move from B to C, we adopt various strategies to avoid coming to grips with that inner negativity and in that it is no wonder that much of the common Yoga experiences come about almost exclusively in our head with all that constant hunger for more anatomical knowledge and titles in order to be successful.
The common aim is to become successful and culturally, we are trained to become successful in every aspect, successful in Yoga through knowledge and reasoning in our brain. Most of us never allow our real relation with the body to unfold because that face to face contact is hard to bear. Rather than supporting the working through our inner stress and strain we develop a habit of denying or not listening to our body and get flooded with more skills and knowledge. We may generally close off our ability to move from B to A.
I read from somewhere, that mental illness is brought on not because we have “gone out of our minds” but because we are “too much in them”. We are sick because we cut-off from a more integral way of knowing ourselves and remains locked in self-deception. We are good at moving around our pain but the truth is that, our bodies remember, every details of stress and strain as we travel our life journey.
Everyone know Yoga is about the body and so everyone is chasing around like hungry ghost on the run towards knowledge and academic of how to stretch this muscles and how to tighten muscles and it’s a never ending story. Everyone can talk about the body but fail to incorporate it into our spirituality. We don’t know how to do that because we are not trained that way because no one tell us that “happily ever after” is an inside job and not outside.
So what is happiness? There is no happiness. You experience happiness when you understand all the factors which suppress happiness. Gert said, “there is no success in consciousness. When you move from B to A, there is nothing to do with being successful.” Why is there so many dramas and separation in Yoga? Because wanting success cut us off from the real human values that is already rooted in us which enable us to live the planet without destroying everything around us.
Critical Alignment method is not something marvellous. It doesn’t transform you into someone greater than who you are now. It travels the opposite direction. It’s about building an intimate relation with your body so that you and your body become one again in growth and in trust. Like every healthy relation, you can only love others and feel empathy towards the need of others when you go through your own empathy in relation to your body. You don’t do it with effort, you just allow it to happen. And that is the foundation in Critical Alignment method. This to me, is spiritual.
I am blessed to be part of the growth of Critical Alignment method all over the world, to see movement in Yoga towards building this relation with our own body beyond what thinking brain can offer which I call the “Art of Allowing”, allowing you to enter into a new experience, a space you have not experienced before. The “new”, like Prince Charming always flies with the wing of unpredictability and seldom arrive as expected. It comes more like a gift when we let something greater than our thinking minds to take over our body programming.
I wait till now to learn that “happily ever after” is already present in us, we just need to recognise it and sustain the recognition ever after. Until then, we’re all wondering: When will the Prince Charming emerge? Not knowing that it is already in you.