Holy Bones, Part I • 24 July 2007

Monday a teacher knelt by my mat and told me that nobody understands.

I felt so understood.

This teacher has worked with thousands of practitioners over the decades, so if he says the shift in my skeleton is something nobody understands, that’s something.

“You can’t even talk about it because nobody understands, I know,” he said, kneeling there. Then he told me that out there somewhere, an old friend is doing advanced practice on a shifted sacrum same as me, and after a year of holding out, his has just suddenly self- corrected. His friend says, “I don’t understand it. It’s just getting better.”

So, that makes three in the community of understanding the non-understanding of the shifted sacrum.

I haven’t had much to say here or anywhere the past four months that this complex has been upon me, but now that the demon in my low back has diminished from a self-replicating beast to one single, cowering little shit, I realize the time to write about this experience is growing short. I hope.

So for the next few posts I’ll write about this a bit, in an effort to reclaim the sacrum from the realm of the unknowable. In case it’s helpful to anyone, I’ll torture out of myself some documentation of the physical (for some reason, discussing my own physical practice bores me very much). But, apart from my suspicions about the first and second chakras, which I am not going to discuss, most of my reflections due to this injury have to do with the uses and misuses of body awareness, and the possibility of finding bliss in the presence of pain.

Of all the parts of the skeleton, it’s easiest to spiritualize the sacrum. The holy bone, the house of the serpent, the primitive remnant of a tail, or the super-evolved pyramid-tip of the plumb line that roots the spine. And I won’t say I haven’t experienced this injury as a kind of stitch in the spirit as much as a pain in the ass. But ashtangis easily get carried away spiritualizing our injuries—looking for stories to explain them, looking for blame-takers, seeking “the” solution. And the limited sense that one never quite knows what she thinks about something until she can put it in words, I suppose it’s useful to write about this topic even though part of me would prefer to let it all pass into vague remembering… at least until a new turn of the bone brought it all rushing back another 5 or 15 years from now. Maybe, too, this will be useful to someone else out there in the community of the non-understanding of the understanding of the shifted sacrum.

It is hazardous to think of the body as a self-correcting system. The body dies, after all. And yet damn if it isn’t also the vehicle for discovery and for bliss and for awakening; and I’ll be damned if when treated with indulgent, loving patience it doesn’t self-correct. Humans create our own pain very often, but we are also healing ourselves all the time. It may be what we do best.