Perhaps one of the most paradoxical challenges in the quest for spiritual growth is to stay embodied. We might think of spiritual work as acting on just the intangible parts of ourselves, but this work needs solid grounding behind it in order to be a productive exercise, rather than leading us towards further imbalance. There is a passage in Shyam Ranganathan’s analysis of Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras that I particularly adore:
[…] study in logic, critical thinking (including self-criticism) and philosophy are very important preparatory activities for the yogi. They serve to make the intellect sharp. When the intellect is sharp, it is skilled, and when it is skilled and quiet, an elevated and advanced yogic state is achieved. Yoga is not about striving for states where logical distinctions are meaningless to the yogi. Patañjali’s conception of yoga thus sharply contrasts with the view hailing from some mystical traditions, where being a yogi involves cultivating a state of divine spaciness.
It is dangerously easy to live in the blissed-out third eye space, disconnected from the world, from self-awareness, and from our fundamental grounding to Earth (in all its post-industrial capitalist craziness). But if we lose this grounding, we cut ourselves off from reality, making it harder for us to be alchemists in and of the world, making us forget to try to make it a better place (and at worst, making us complacent). As Ranganathan explains, Yoga can be part of that grounding practice, if it is used in conjunction with criticism and knowledge to help us inhabit our physical bodies more fully. I take Patañjali’s approach as a template for all spiritual work – to stay open to spiritual growth without floating away.
The question of conscious embodiment is also a challenge for those of us who are working with a history of childhood trauma, as we may have learned early in life that it is not safe to be in our bodies. This is not limited to childhood experience, of course. It is typical for those who have suffered traumas, either early or later in life, to leave our bodies during times of stress or triggers that remind us of the original harm. This creates the feeling of being ‘switched off’, perhaps a numbness, a sense of being out-of-body. This state can last for a long time, and maybe even you find that you are living in this state, rather than visiting it occasionally. The sadness of this state is that it, too, can create a complacency, not necessarily in the form of a feeling of inevitability and pessimism about the state of the world, but about our own needs and boundaries.
Rosemary flower essence is a powerful ally in teaching us how to be embodied, and is especially helpful for those working through out-of-body responses to trauma, or for those who tend to become un-grounded during spiritual work. She rescues us from these absent/un-Earthed states, making it feel safe to inhabit our bodies again. I read her actions described somewhere as ‘calling the spirit back into the body’. Through this, she promotes a strong physical presence. Working with this powerful essence over the winter, I slowly became able to stay aware of my body during trigger episodes. I noticed my awareness of my physical presence expanding. And there was an unexpected effect – it helped me to start taking dance classes again.
To me, one of the most astonishing things about being on the Earth for the short time we are here is that we get to have a body. Its pleasures, its pains, its sensuous delights, its sweat, its exertion, and its exhaustion – all of this is ultimate grace, a crazy gift. Nothing makes me more delirious than the sense-overload of Spring flowers starting to bloom, dazzling with their colors and scents, or discovering as I did the other day not only that Eucalyptus trees *flower*, but that brushing against one of their blooms is like having your skin kissed a thousand times, all in the same place, all in the same second.
This rosemary flower essence was infused into artesian water under a full day’s (Mercury conjunct) sun + (Scorpio) moon, anchored in brandy.
* Helps you feel safe in your body
* Anchors spirit in body
* Helps you to stay present
* Promotes a strong physical presence
* Calls the spirit back into the body after a trauma
* Childhood trauma
HOW USE: take 4 drops directly on the tongue, up to 4 times per day as an ongoing course / or use before performing, dancing, meditating, or doing healing work / or after any stress or trigger that has left you feeling out-of-body
WHEN USE: immediately