Excuse my (abbreviated) language, it’s meant to be a little bit funny. But it’s also really an important question. I imagine that any one person’s mind would go to one or the other answer quite strongly and it might be interesting to consider the validity of each side. It also takes us to a junction of consciousness of our time.
Making the Distinction between Somatic Tools and a Somatic Paradigm: I believe this distinction to be extremely important at this time. As more therapists become aware of the importance of the somatic piece, they want to bring in these tools, however, the risk is that these somatic tools are utilized within a paradigm that remains out of touch. The risk is that these tools are taken over and used to support the paradigm as it is. As a result, the power of the tools are diminished and, or–worse yet–that they are used to help someone to put up with something they really don't want to put up with. And the greatest problem, perhaps, is that an opportunity is missed to change the paradigm. That the wisdom seeking to emerge in this moment in time is pushed down.
Some say that happiness is a choice. I believe that it is grace. Perhaps it is a million choices over a million lifetimes, but I don't even agree with that. I don't think happiness can be earned. It is something beyond what could ever be deserved or undeserved. When it comes, the ego says, "I did this." But that is not true. When it comes, if you have known pain to the depths that nothing could rescue you from, the only response is gratitude. In that relief is a sense of awe that most will never know. Seeing happiness as grace is a deep and humble bow.
When we work to balance our awareness on the breath, eventually it falls off. Maybe after one breath, two breaths, or even half a breath. The usual rivers of the mind (neuro-pathways or sanskaras) are powerful. Imagine the Grand Canyon and the Colorado river. All of the rain drops in the area (energy) effortlessly flow to join that river in the pathway that has been carved through time. Our rivers of focus might be anger, frustration, doubt, worry, distraction, analysis - and you might see the ways that subtle thoughts wick through to join a large familiar river that could easily sweep you away.
It is clear that it is a time where great kindness is required. Both internally and externally. When things happen externally - the surfacing of fear, hate, and violence, things come up internally to heal as well. This is the work of yoga. The most typical response to pain - internal or external - is judgement. But really compassion is a more helpful response - to see BOTH the cause and the resolution of the problem within ourselves so that we can even begin to form the possibility of resolution in the world. Social media makes the tendency towards judgement even worse - it is so easy go around debating words when probably the feeling behind them is much the same.
There is a reason I teach hatha yoga. The philosophy contains a fundamental difference that changes everything
"Get out of your head and into your body." I first heard this as a teenager beginning to study movement. But even this has existed mostly as a thought. The necessity of living from the neck down is becoming more and more clear in my own life and in the world. The consequences of living in thought are far reaching: compromising our enjoyment, our treatment of each other, and even our ability to think clearly. But it is difficult. And not only because it is new. Not only because we may have been taught the opposite–encouraging us to live by reason. But because of pain. If the heart has been broken, it makes sense that someone would not to go there. Many have no idea the depth of pain their system has learned to avoid.