Fierce Battle

aka The Two and the One:
aka Everything is ok AND you must try your best.

There is a growing awareness of the planes described in yoga, and a sense of split. There is the plane of Oneness - where everything is perfect just as it is. And there is the plane of Twoness - where there is light and dark, pleasure and pain, loss and gain, and where there is work to be done.

Spiritual sight is rising and also the height of the darkness. It is a challenge of our time to deal with both. It is common for people to have a split experience. When they are focused on the Twoness, it is easy to become devastated and hopeless. It is possible to even believe that your emotional and spiritual practices don't matter. On the other side of things, when focused on the Oneness, there might be a desire to dissociate from the Twoness, or - if wanting to engage in the Twoness - a difficulty in knowing where to begin.

Yoga gives the idea of holding and participating in both and all - the One the Two and the Three. The 3 warrior poses - the Unity, the Polarity, and the Plurality - each represent a philosophy or lens and there is the suggestion to hold them all at once. Of the Oneness and the Twoness, there is the concept of "hand in the world, heart in [god]", and the physical yoga and hatha understanding itself brings the the importance of practice - you must act in the Two.

As we drop down out of the head and into the body, out of ideas of what should be we drop down into the messyness of what it actually feels like. As we move to express the Oneness through the Twoness of words and actions, it can feel like being a baby crying and learning to talk - knowing that words could never express what is felt and known. It takes consistent practice in the One AND in the Two to get better at holding more of the One in the Two. This means, dwell in the one, and also participate.

There are many currently who seek to teach yoga without spiritual components. And I certainly believe that there is enough magic in any single moment to study, without needing to go beyond. But some concepts are impossible to teach without the understanding of a larger unfolding. The non-spiritual yoga often criticizes myths - and literalization of myths is certainly a problem. In many religions, cultures, and philosophies, there are myths of battles and wars. There is a current problem of literalizing this - of practicing war on the grounds of knowing what is right for all, and this is not good. But it is equally a problem to just throw out these myths. Because it is true that we are engaged in battle.

Pop-culture psychology and spiritualism say to let go of the fight and the struggle - to let it be easy and think of the positives. It is necessary to some degree to let go of unnecessary strife, especially within ourselves. But we must come to understand the metaphor of participation in the battles. Yoga is a path that does not renounce all worldly possessions or give up action, it is of finding peace in completing action fully, of its own integrity, and in the greatest possible service to all. When we enter the body - as is done in physical yoga - we enter participation in the Twoness. This is why physical yoga is hatha yoga = sun/moon, male/female, exhale/inhale, light/dark. We cannot simply go glow in the cave. That is a good path too, but not necessarily the path of a yogi. The archetype of the Warrior is one of the great paradoxes of yoga.

From the Oneness, you might say, life is fun and beautiful (and it is). But from the Twoness, how does that feel to someone who is struggling for food and safety each day (which is also true)? However, from the Twoness, you see the struggles and then superimpose your own personal devastation. There may be anger, hopelessness, and defeat. There must be both. It is an act of respect to honor that we are in a great battle. It is of great respect to honor those who grapple with the existential and face their angel-demons head on. And there is great learning in bringing the Oneness to this Twoness - to engage fully and with full surrender.

This is the quality of acting fully without doing it from the ego. The surrender of the ego in the archetype of the warrior is what removes the violence. The archetype embodied as someone who actually is a warrior is of one who will do anything not to have to fight. But then who is willing to take on the karma when something must be done (when literally in that position, so many take the responsibility WAY too lightly. Arjuna was being a yogi when he fought with Krishna). But in our day to day life, the metaphor of engaging in the battle becomes even more important. This is in every move of yoga and in every action of your day - to act fully, and without ego and control. It is interesting how, if you give it a minute, a metaphor faulted for violence becomes one of radical non-violence. To act fully and not strong arm life. Yoga does not tell us what is right to do, but it tells us to choose as wisely as we can.

This quality of the yogic warrior can be practiced in the Warrior 2 pose. Arms softly reaching in two directions, torso centered. It is easy to lean in the direction of the forward arm (the over eager warrior) - leaning into the light and not the shadow, pulling forward to the future and forgetting the past, deciding that that is where to go and what must be done. It is also common to tense the arms, shoulders, and let the eyes and skull become too hardened - the way we are used to driving things forward from our ego and how we want it to be. In the energetics of the body, the legs are of the earth. There should be strength in the legs and lightness in the heart, arms, and head. Most of us have flipped this around. It is the practice of the warrior pose to stay in the center and stay in the earth and in the heart. To not be pulled by light OR shadow, future or past, demand or hatred.

The archetype of the warrior teaches us to own our actions and surrender our results. Both of these components are the seeds of non-violence. You will need to learn to act in your life with tremendous kindness. There is a fierce battle, but it cannot be won through the ego. If you are someone looking to stand firmly in an open heart. If you are someone who has a heavy karma and some big demons around, if you want to hold the One the Two and the Three - I hope that this post honors you and your efforts.

And, you have probably felt it before: after you went through a challenge with as much consciousness and love as you could, after the storm is clear and you know you did your best - the warriorship and clarity that rises up within you. The way you can sit strong and open and hold it all. The way that everything you have gone through in the past now becomes the strong ground you sit on. The warrior strength rises up and opens your heart.