Last week I visited friends and relatives back in the Midwest. On the Minnesota portion of my trip, I finally got to see and stay in the beautiful cabin that my cousin Jim built on Lake Kabetogema, near the Canadian border.
Jim is a master carpenter, which is obvious from even a quick glance at the immaculate cabin he built. As a hobby, he restores and races vintage snowmobiles.
Jim knew that I have spent the last three years writing a book... but when he asked me what the book is about, I knew that a direct answer would likely cause his eyes to glaze over. So I let him answer his own question by asking him how he restores his vintage snowmobiles… (“sleds,” as he calls them).
Jim explained that he starts a restoration by taking the snowmobile completely apart—then he meticulously cleans every part. After cleaning, he assesses each part for damage, then repairs or replaces it to new—or sometimes even better than new—condition. He then reassembles the snowmobile with the restored parts fitting and functioning together more efficiently. This improves the sled's performance, bringing it closer to its full potential.
My book and method, The Calculus of Life, helps us reconnect to more of who we have always been at our full potential. It helps us identify, restore and reconnect parts of ourself that have been lost, injured, or forgotten in the rush of life. In both snowmobiles and human function, restoration is accomplished through the fundamental processes of calculus: differentiation and integration. This entails disassembling, cleaning, and refining parts (differentiation) so that they can more efficiently contribute (integrate) into a more unified whole. (This is the goal of all branches of yoga!)
The first step in “taking ourselves apart” is differentiating the physical body and nervous system. Neuromuscular re-education and Craniosacral Therapy are the “detergents and realignment tools” used to start the cleaning and reconstruction process. This foundation opens the door to engaging our physical presence as a grounding portal for higher awareness.
Guided meditation can then be used to differentiate and refine parts of our cognition, including our intellectual, emotional, and intuitive selves. These parts are often disconnected from each other. In the medical world, this disconnection is called “cognitive dissonance.” Moshe Feldenkrais’s term for it is “cross motivation.” Identifying the corresponding somatic location of a given thought, emotion, or intuition can help that layer of who we are integrate and contribute more fully to the greater flow of our life.
All this sets the stage for experiencing even higher levels of differentiation and integration, including esoteric mechanisms such as the biodynamic cranial tides and other layers of subtle function and awareness that many people have never consciously experienced before. These higher integrative experiences can produce visionary states of awareness, including Unity with all of creation—known in various cultures as satori, samadhi and nirvana.
The real value of these states of transcendental, extra-dimensional awareness are realized when they come full circle to be experienced in our physical presence and daily life—uplifting ourselves and others along the way. This is why advanced yoga teachers often say that our most important spiritual work begins after Samadhi. The restoration and activation process that allows all this to happen is what I call The Calculus of Life.
Thanks to my cousin Jim for the high quality time we spent together last week!