“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”

 “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” 

It takes a certain amount of awareness for a person to see the limitations of this fantastic machinery. As a machine, the body is actually faultless. The only problem is that it does not take you anywhere. It just springs out of the earth and falls back into the earth. 

Isn’t that enough? 

If you look at it from the perspective of the body, it is quite enough. But somehow, a dimension beyond physicality has infused itself into this wonderful mechanism. This dimension is the very source of life. It is this dimension that truly makes us who we are. 

Life is one thing, but the source of life is another. In every creature, in every plant, in every seed, this source of life is at work. In a human being, this source of life is even more magnificently obvious. It is because of this that suddenly after a while, all the wonderful gifts that the body offers somehow seem to turn irrelevant and trivial. 

It is because of this that you and every other human being seem to live in a constant struggle between the physical and the dimension beyond the physical. Though you have the compulsiveness of the physical, you also have the consciousness of being more than just physical. 

There are two basic forces within you. Most people see them as being in conflict. One is the instinct of self-preservation, which compels you to build walls around yourself to protect yourself. The other is the constant desire to expand, to become boundless. These two longings—to preserve and to expand— are not opposing forces, though they may seem to be. They are related to two different aspects of your life. One force helps you root yourself well on this planet; the other takes you beyond. Self-preservation needs to be limited to the physical body. If you have the necessary awareness to separate the two, there is no conflict. But if you are identified with the physical, then instead of working in collaboration, these two fundamental forces become a source of tension. 

All of the “material-versus-spiritual” struggles of humanity spring from this ignorance. When you say “spirituality,” you are talking about a dimension beyond the physical. The human desire to transcend the limitations of the physical is a completely natural one. To journey from the boundary-based individual body to the boundless source of creation—this is the very basis of the spiritual process. 

The walls of self-preservation that you build for today are the walls of selfimprisonment for tomorrow. Boundaries that you establish in your life as a protection for yourself today will feel like constraints tomorrow. Robert Frost captured a deep truth when he wrote, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” 

Because your self-preservation instinct keeps telling you, “Unless you have walls you are not safe,” unconsciously you keep building them. Later, you struggle with them. This is an endless cycle. But creation is not unwilling to open to you the doors to the beyond. It is not creation’s unwillingness that you are struggling with. You are struggling with the walls of resistance that you have built around yourself. 

That is why the yogic system does not talk about God. It does not talk about the soul or heaven. Such talk invariably makes people hallucinatory. Yoga talks only about the barriers that you have set up, because this resistance is all that needs to be attended to. The Creator is not looking for your attention. The ropes that bind you and the walls that block you—these are one hundred percent of your making. And these are all you need to unknot and dismantle. You have no work with existence. You only have work with the existence that you have created. 

If I were to use an analogy, I would juxtapose gravity and grace. Gravity is related in a way to the fundamental instinct of self-preservation in a human being. We are rooted to the planet right now because of gravity. We have a body today only because of gravity. Gravity is trying to hold you down, whereas grace is a force that is trying to lift you up. If you are released from the physical forces of existence, then grace bursts forth in your life. 

As gravity is active, grace too is constantly active. It is just that you have to make yourself available to it. With gravity you have no choice; you are available to it, anyway. If you are strongly identified with the physical, gravity is all that you will know. But with grace, you have to make yourself receptive. Whatever kind of spiritual practice you do, ultimately, you are just working toward making yourself available to grace. 

When you are available to grace, suddenly, you seem to function like magic. Suppose you were the only one who could ride a bicycle, you would begin to seem magical to everyone else! It is the same with grace. Others might think you are magic, but you know you are just beginning to become receptive to a new dimension of life. This possibility is available to everybody.


You may have noticed this about yourself: when you are feeling pleasant, you want to expand; when you are fearful, you want to contract. Try this. Sit for a few minutes in front of a plant or tree. Remind yourself that you are inhaling what the tree is exhaling, and exhaling what the tree is inhaling. Even if you are not yet experientially aware of it, establish a psychological connection with the plant. You could repeat this several times a day. After a few days, you will start connecting with everything around you differently. You won’t limit yourself to a tree. 

Using this simple process, we at the Isha Yoga Center have unleashed an environmental initiative in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, under which twenty-one million trees have been planted since 2004. We spent several years planting trees in people’s minds, which is the most difficult terrain! Now transplanting those onto land happens that much more effortlessly.




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