Balanced Development of Self
Christopher Drysdale

In healing classes that stress self-development (as compared to healing others, insofar as the two can be separated), healing students who stay around for a while automatically begin to develop or continue to develop adjunct skills that relate to the discipline of the physical body. For some it is yoga, for some aerobics, and for others (like myself) martial arts. Dance, running, or whatever else the body likes might be a substitute.

What these activities have in common is that they condition the body and strengthen the tan t’ien. This in turn supports the strength of the physical body. In order for the development of the spiritual heart to continue beyond the initial stages, the physical body must keep up with its development. If the body does not keep up, then the energy that is brought in is not stored, but instead goes to waste in fighting with tensions and misdirections. Simply, the person becomes too energetic for his or her body, and the energy devolves into nervousness, sleeplessness, and/or irritability.

This discipline and training of the body is vital. It is as the body is developed that it becomes a worthy seat for the soul and a vessel for the energy. It allows us not only to experience, but also to accomplish on our spiritual path. While it is true that we are spirit, it is just as true that we are flesh-and-blood human.

Sometimes, in the first flush of excitement, spiritual people try to lose their human nature and live only by the rules of the spirit. Yet the human condition informs our every experience. Sometimes, we feel that if the spirit directs us, that obviates our need for human rules. Yet we must live in the world as well; we must bring the strength of the spirit down into the world and hold the energy for all. This requires the discipline of the world, but it allows us to reach many more of the people who need help.

Love without the strength to hold the self is erratic. While it might feel wonderful and is often a necessary stage of development, it is not an end in and of itself. It is a transitional phase between being a leaf in the wind and being one’s true, rooted self. In our healing groups we lend and receive that strength, but when all is said and done we must discipline ourselves to gain that strength of self for our own self. Until we have done so, all of our gains will be for naught.

We must have inner strength, not just inner conviction, before we can sustain an open heart without support from others. It is this experience that brings true gentleness and independence to our lives. It is from this strength that we can develop a sense of equanimity, a sense of wellbeing that will break down our fears and leave us free to act in accordance with our nature.

© 1999 by Christopher Drysdale
Permission to reproduce this on this page was graciously granted by the author

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