Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chakras and the Body of God

C. G. Jung in his essay “Yoga and the West” warns that Yoga is often mis understood in the light of Western preoccupations with Science and Technology. Here the obsession with “controlling nature”, so that it becomes just a way towards human development, is projected onto the praxis of yoga, understood as a way of controlling the body and breathing. Jung writes:
“The Indian can forget neither the body nor the mind, while the European is always forgetting either the one or the other. With this capacity to forget, he has, for the time being, conquered the world. Not so the Indian. He not only knows his own nature, but he knows also how much he himself is nature. The European, on the other hand, has a science of nature, and knows astonishingly little of his own nature, the nature within him…”

“Western man has no need of more superiority over nature, whether outside or inside. He has both in almost devilish perfection. What he lacks is conscious recognition of his inferiority to the nature around and within him. He must learn that he may not do exactly as he wills. If he does not learn this, his own nature will destroy him..”

One could understand Yoga as a way of understanding Creation as the Body of God. In that sense Yoga can perhaps be an important way towards creating an eco-theology, which recognizes the Divine Presence in Creation. That, after all, was what Moses witnessed when he observed the Burning Bush on Mount Horeb, the Holy Mountain. The Burning Bush, as the Jewish tradition of Midrash has recognized, was a symbol of Creation, in which the Divine Presence came to rest. When Moses approached this Presence, he was asked to take off his shoes, because the very ground was Holy. Then the Divine Presence told Moses that He had seen the suffering of humanity, and intended to set his people free.

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