Each of us is a combination of many elements: body and soul, flesh and spirit, animal and human. The purpose of meditation is to provide a meeting ground where all the elements of your being can come into a harmonious relationship. When our disparate elements meet, they can become friends, mates even.
Every relationship we have is structured around opposites. Whether it is your relationship with life, with yourself, or with another person. There are many opposite elements to integrate: time together and time apart, work and play, listening and speaking, safety and adventure. Additionally, we have to learn to balance our own needs with those of others.
Conflict between any of these opposites can tear us to shreds and ruin a relationship. Whenever one side represses the other, or excludes the other, the polarities go to war. Meditation turns the war dance into a mating dance.
The polarities need each other. On the most basic biological level, you breathe out in order to breathe in. If you don’t breathe out, there is no room in your lungs for the fresh air. Love relationships are about giving and receiving different elements that we crave. We can be overbalanced on one end of the continuum, more adept at giving than receiving, for example. A healthy relationship is one in which there is a flow between the opposites. We need to exercise both ends of the continuum, create more flexibility and fluidity between them.
Meditation is the perfect place to get used to both giving and receiving love. Meditation lets us turn the conflict between opposites into a continuum, or pairing of opposites. Meditation itself is a mating dance, because the dynamics of relationship are present in the experience of meditation. When you meditate, you give yourself a time and place where you can allow the opposites to dance around inside your being, approach and learn to like each other, make friends and even get engaged. The techniques in this book are all based around handling the intensity of this dance. This chapter gives the basic instructions for playing with the polarities in meditation.
When opposites come into conjunction, it is called “syzygy,” (pronounced siz – a – gee) from a Greek word meaning union or marriage. When the sun, the earth and the moon line up, it’s called a syzygy. All those y’s in syzygy (Who ever heard of three y’s in a six-letter word?) -- are because it comes from the same root as yoga.
We need to use this special term because we are talking about a special form of attention, inclusive of the opposites and the continuum between them. This “continuum perception” is one of the great secrets of meditation and is what allows it to be a meeting place for flesh and spirit, for example. During meditation you learn to perceive flesh as a condensed form of spirit and spirit as a refined form of flesh. We call this principle “love yoga”, or the union of opposites.