White Belt Principle 5: Awareness and Living in the Mystery of the “Now”

In Nia, we have this really cool way of organizing information called triads. As you may infer from its name, a triad is a three-pointed structure- a triangle. I like to think of them as three-step directions- they tell you how to do something in a specific order, going counter clockwise from the bottom left corner of the triangle, to the bottom right, ending at the very top. Typically, whatever is situated at the top of the triad is the culmination or “product” of the points that came before it.

Tonight, I am mulling over White Belt Principle 5 and it’s “Pain Triad”. On this triad there are three points: Awareness, Stimulation, and Self-Healing. In Nia, awareness is defined as paying attention to your body sensations. This is easy to do- just sense your feet on the floor. Sense your in-breath. That is awareness. Stimulation refers to the conscious movement of your joints, which is guided by awareness. Self-healing is what occurs when the stimulation makes you feel better. Awareness- Stimulation- Self-Healing; this is our triad for addressing pain in the body. Inside the triad we have a pain scale which ranges from slight, to moderate, to acute. This allows me to measure the level of pain in my body throughout the healing process. Ideally, with proper stimulation, the pain disappears such that it no longer places anywhere on this scale.

Outside the triad, on the right and left, rest two words: Logic and Mystery. Now this is what I really want to bring your attention to…

Nia teaches us that we have these two beautiful tools for healing at our disposal. We have the practical element of logic- which is ordered and methodical- balanced with the non-linear element of mystery. “Mystery” encompasses any unique, random, perhaps inexplicable form of healing. Together, these two elements present the yin-yang of self-healing. When addressing pain, we can come at it from one or both elements. Logic says, “You broke your arm. Let’s secure it with a cast, protect and elevate it as it heals.” Mystery says, “You broke your arm. Yet every time you gently rotate your ribs, you notice that for some strange reason your arm feels better. Let’s continue this movement, as mysteriously healing as it is…”

There are so many reasons we can experience pain in our bodies and in our lives. Sometimes the cause is apparent i.e. you stubbed your toe and consequently it hurts when you walk. Or, you got into an argument with someone you love and haven’t yet found a resolution. Knowing the cause of the pain can be helpful, however becoming overly fixated on the “why” can become a limitation if taken to extremes. When I am hurting, I care less about what caused the pain and more about healing it. Nia invites us to honor the healing balance of logic and mystery by focusing our attention in the present moment, the “Now.” By releasing our dependence on the “why” of the past we can more effortlessly discover what we require in this moment to be whole and happy.

We have a choice as to how we respond in every situation. Self-healing, ultimately, is the conscious act of re-creation and thus perhaps the highest manifestation of self-love.

And if, as Johann Wolfgang Goethe writes, “Nothing is worth more than this day”, I can see no better way of spending these present moments than by living in the mystery of the now…

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