“Your body is your soul, as perceived by your senses” – William Blake
I love the way William Blake invokes a sense of our vastness. Just like ultraviolet is outside the visible range, there are aspects of us that are outside of the sensory realm, such as our thoughts, our love, our dreams, our soul. We could certainly conjure up a few more words to describe it, though it’s more effective to just pause your reading to experience yourself as all of that……
Yes, these realms express themselves through the physical body, which makes them experienceable. Our heart beats faster when excited, our eyes may widen and spine elongate when we have a great idea. We use our bodies to express the notions of our soul – fingers type, vocal chords sounds out words, legs move us and hands shape matter to manifest our visions.
Our bodies are like an accumulation of our past: the DNA passed on through our ancestry, the food we’ve consumed to convert into body mass, the way our physical activity has shaped our muscle tissue, the posture we’ve adopted.
While in this way, our bodies are simultaneously our past, and our vehicle for expression, our soul is our as-yet unmanifest potential. It contains our capacities, possibilities, and dreams.
If we identify too strongly with our past, we’ll believe that if we haven’t done something, that means we can’t do it. While this is certainly true that we all have real limitations, some of the limitations we believe in are imaginary, exaggerated by our mind through our frustration and our impatience. We still have room for growth. Even the old dogs among us can still learn some new tricks. Understanding the difference between “haven’t” and “can’t” may be the single most valuable lesson I’ve taken away from my yoga practice to help me expand into life’s possibilities.
The yoga practices are designed to help us distinguish reality from imagination. We practice exploring our limitations, honoring their nature and intentions, maintaining that which serves and protects us, releasing those that no longer do. We do this not just for the incredibly valuable physical benefits, but also as a practice ground for how we face the rest of our lives, and the challenges life keeps handing us.
So how does your soul yearn to play? What is still possible for you that you prematurely gave up on?