Dunkirk, and The Internal Battle

Last night I saw Christopher Nolan's new film Dunkirk. The movie is a very sober portrayal of the hundreds of thousands of British men who were stranded on a beach in France during World War II as the German enemies were rapidly closing in. Fortunately, many of them were rescued and evacuated, even by British civilians who ventured across the English Channel with small sailboats to fetch them.

It's often been said: War is hell. Even if you've never been engaged in military combat, if you watch a movie like Dunkirk, it's easy to empathize with the sentiments regarding the horrifying aspects of industrialized violence conducted on a large scale.

But I'm not writing this particular blog to pontificate about military wars between countries. I'm writing to reflect upon the wars we tend to wage with ourselves, and how we can bring peace to the battlefield within our own body and mind.

In reflexology, we observe markers on the extremities that give us clues to the inner condition of the client. An instrumental part of interpreting the markers involves using the four natural elements of earth, water, fire, and air to better understand the predicament(s). For instance, if there is excess redness in Horizontal Zone 2, that is a fire symptom. The chest region has been fire-bombed from the inside, much like the beaches of Dunkirk. But unlike Dunkirk, the enemy has manifested not from an outside source, per se, but from the internal behavior patterns of the client, or perhaps from how they're handling an external challenge in their life. Fortunately, we can use the elements to counterbalance each other, and in the case of fire, water is obviously a tempering response to the agitation. More fluidity, more hydration...not just in the physical sense, but in the emotional/mental spectrum as well.

In the Samyama book of AYP, there is a delightful appendix that holds an extended list of sutras, in addition to the standard nine that comprise the core routine. Here is one of the sutras on the extended list:

26. Elements – mastery over the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and inner space), enabling manipulation of all matter, including the size, appearance and condition of the body.

When dropped into stillness, that sutra cultivates an improved relationship with the elemental forces that make up our body, including the more subtle regions of our mind (inner space). To touch the sutra with our awareness is kind of like touching the extremities with reflexology. We press and release, and let the nervous system do what it will. It's not so much about trying to materialize an exact result as it is instilling a rhythm and habit of trusting the genius of the body's command center. That is why, at both the Foot Whisperer and AYP, we cover the full range of our target, without fixating too long on particular points. We take a global approach to our microcosmic territories.

Going back to the theme of war, I have found virtue in the concept of being a peaceful warrior. Yogani has hinted at how we can further embody this archetype: "We can choose to become active in surrendering our stories and dramas (and our knee-jerk reactions) to what is happening right now, even as the stories and dramas continue to play in our head. That's fine. Let them play. We just release in stillness and live our life. In doing so, we can become fierce warriors of Being."

So, to bring peace to our respective battlefields, we don't have to become meek or subservient. Quite the opposite. We have to actively engage the elements that compose us, and work with them, rather than against them. The scenario is not: Human vs. Nature. The true story is: Human is Nature.

Be still, and flow.

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