Your Eyes Are Small But They See Enormous Things

I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes. They are small,
but they see enormous things.

-Rumi

We often feel too small to make any difference in the world, and so forget our eternal connection to the entire universe. We forget that we are the universe, and that nothing that happens is separate from us. How can we recover the unity we crave?

You might be surprised by the answer. It is half contemplation and half taking action. The first half = consider the wisdom teachings of the yoga sutras, and delve into the five Kośas. The second half = follow these three steps to commit to yourself as your own best beloved, discarding worn-out habits of self-critique.

The Five Kośas! Some yogis attempt to diagram the complexity of humanness, bless them! In the yoga sutras, we are said to be composed of five layers, or sheaths (Kośas), each layer more subtle than the one “outside” of it. These layers aren’t completely distinct, nor do they hold their positions consistently, but they give us a way to consider how complicated it is to be human.

Imagine a rough drawing of a person, like a gingerbread figure. Inside of that is a smaller version of that same form, then 3 more inside and inside and inside the others. These are the kośas.

The Physical Body – The outermost figure is the physical body, bones, muscles and everything that is visible and measurable, followed by these other layers, each more nuanced than the previous one:

The Life Body – This includes blood, electricity, lymph, breath, the movement of digestion and elimination, and all the evidence of life through movement. Life flows through the physical form and also around it, like an aura or energy each of us has.

The Mental Body – This layer governs thoughts and feelings. We know that our mental/emotional health is woven into our life and physical bodies, and there are practices that focus more on the mind.

The Wisdom Body – This is the “aspect of our being which knows Life intimately at the deepest level and from which we receive messages from beyond what our minds could ever understand. Within this sheath, there is still the illusion of duality, where there is a knower, the knowing, and the known.” (Ekhart Yoga). We may ignore messages from this intuitive part of ourselves, doubting their veracity when the Mental Body is overly active or insecure.

The Bliss Body – This layer is connected to deep inner peace and joy. We can be free from our thoughts, emotions, energy and physical body, and yet at the same time embracing them all. This is the layer closest to unity, oneness, or bliss.

Studying the kośas can help sort out some of the parts of ourselves and consider how they flow into each other. For example, when I’m tired and am also depressed. If I am worried I may get a tummy ache or have trouble sleeping. Likewise, when I feel connected to the universe, everything else seems easier.

Practices that recognize our whole selves, including our soul and intuition, could help us approach issues in the less subtle layers with more ease, or a clearer focus. For example, if my highest priority (as discerned through my intuition) is connection with my community, and I have tight hamstrings, I could choose to take public, in-person yoga classes, even though they might have a higher cost than Youtube instruction. My mental body might be in conflict, citing financial concerns and insecurity about making “sensible” decisions, but if my practices are regularly tuning me into my intuitions and deeper longings, I can factor this into my decisions.

So this first half of reconnecting to the universe includes a fluidity between the sheaths, always including as many of the layers of ourselves as we can.

The second half is inspired by Rob Breszny. He proposes that we propose to ourselves, making this self the center of life.

We typically wait for someone or something to complete us. What if we could set that aside for now and recognize ourselves as the expert in our true desires, and focus all available energy on committing to this self?

He suggests we prepare by saying these words aloud, (while holding your own hand):

I love everything about me.

I love my curious beauty and my amazing pain.

I love my hungry soul and my changeable games.

I love my mysterious gambles and my humbling brags.

I love my blooming darkness and my burning flags.

I love my flaws, my gaps, my catalytic fears.

I love my puzzling insights and my scary frontiers.

I love my wrongs, my rights, and my ambiguous dreams.

I love my courage, my cowardice, and my elaborate schemes.

I love everything about me.

I love everything about me.

Spend time getting to really know yourself, falling in love with yourself in the ways that you desire and appreciate. Then you can make a commitment or vow to this lovely self. Here are some of Breszny’s ideas:

I will never forsake, betray, or deceive myself.

I will always adore, forgive, and believe in myself.

I vow to treat myself with adroit respect and resourceful compassion and outrageous grace.

I pledge to see my problems as tremendous opportunities and my flaws as imperfect talents.

I promise to shower myself with rowdy blessings and surprising adventures and brave liberations.

You can read more in his newsletter, which you can access through last week’s blog.

For support accessing your more subtle realms, a somatic therapy session can provide the structure and container. Feel free to tap me for a yoga therapy session. I am also an ordained minister, so I can marry you to yourself too!