While we are doing this exercise, alternating between our right and left leg, in our mind we say the words,
‘May perfect balance reign throughout my being, for the glory of our heavenly Father.’
This exercise is not as easy to do as the others, as we have to be careful throughout not to lose our balance. With our hands on our shoulders, we stand first on our left leg, then on our right, while making several movements with the opposite leg and, at the same time, spontaneously adjusting our upper body to keep our balance.
Our physical balance is dependent on the healthy functioning of the centre situated in our inner ear. And the reason the initiates associated wisdom symbolically with the ears is because wisdom is the virtue that also allows us to maintain psychic balance in all life’s circumstances. You should never lose sight of the analogies that exist between the physical world and the psychic world. This is why I want to show you that there are more lessons to learn from this fifth exercise.
The importance of Balance
When your lower nature, represented here by the legs, tries to express itself, your higher nature, represented by the upper body and the arms, must immediately respond to restore balance. It is your higher nature that will keep you in the regions of light. If you are not vigilant, an impulse of anger, fear, bitterness or discouragement can knock you off balance for the slightest thing.
An aspect of the balance we must acquire is provided by the very structure of our bodies. We find this structure represented in the caduceus of Hermes, which doctors and chemists have made the symbol of their profession. Study of the human brain shows us that the functions of the two hemispheres are not identical: the left hemisphere is the seat of the analytical faculties (logic, reasoning), which we can describe as masculine, and the right hemisphere is the seat of the linking faculties (intuition, sensitivity), which we can describe as feminine.
So, the two hemispheres complement one another as regards their activities, and our psyche can be said to be based on the masculine and feminine, positive and negative, polarities, which we must constantly keep in balance.
The Caduceus of Hermes
In the symbol of the caduceus of Hermes, two curving lines cross at different places along the central staff. These curved lines are not randomly placed. They correspond to two serpents, two energy currents, which circulate by passing alternately from one side of our spine to the other. The Hindus call them ida and pingala, and the central channel inside the spine they call sushumna.
Ida (in red) and pingala (in blue), on alternate sides of the sushumna
Our Daily Breathing Exercises
When we do our breathing exercises each day, it is these two currents, the ida and pingala, that we activate: we close the left nostril and breathe air in through the right; then we close the right nostril and breathe air out through the left. Then we do the opposite: we close the right nostril and breathe in through the left, and then we close the left nostril and breathe out through the right. These breathing exercises help the two currents – the masculine, positive current and the feminine, negative current – to flow properly along our spine, and they play a part in maintaining both our physical and our psychic balance.
To be continued…
Learn or practice the exercises
If you wish to learn or practice the exercises you can purchase the book Bringing Symbols to Life(including a DVD), from which this series is taken, at Prosveta, or download to Kindle via this link on Amazon. You can also watch the video of the Master leading the gymnastics for free on YouTube. Watch the video.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Bringing Symbols to Life – The Gymnastic Exercises
Chapter 1 The treasures hidden in very simple exercises