Maybe it is the New Year creeping in, tax season on the horizon, or the fact that my husband and I are having to forgo Christmas presents this year due to low finances, but I found my mind swirling around the fiscally pragmatic today. 

Another reason money and money woes are on my mind is that I found this amazing Integrative Mental Health Conference in Phoenix in March with the likes of Andrew Weil, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Amy Weintraub on mind/body healing approaches in mental health–jackpot–and I cannot even conceivable afford to go. 

And it makes me wonder, in this shaky economic time, when jobs are not certain and the stock market even less so, how can anyone afford enlightenment?  I  look at wonderful educational centers like Kripalu and Omega, places where I find enriching workshops weekly that make me salivate cerebrally just thinking of them, but there is no way I could afford the accommodations, airfare, and then coursework costs to attend. 

The saddest part yet is that I am a graduate school educated person with a moderately well salaried job (for my field of social work, which is considerably underpaid as a whole).  So, if I can’t afford enlightenment, enrichment, and the coursework to a more centered self, more soulful life, deeper yoga practice and life path then what about everyone else?!  (Yes, I do believe that moment deserved an exclamation point, please don’t be offended by my virtual shouting).

I received a lovely email from a graduate school social work professor in the midwest last week and we had a rich discussion regarding complementary therapies, yoga as therapeutic, and the potentials for training the young soon-to-be-therapist minds of her students with a curriculum that included yogic practices. 

I was so hopeful being able to be a participant in such a discussion.  It gave me hope that one day affording enlightenment and having accessable mind/body healing practices will not be just for those few who have the cash for the expenditure of a flight and a long weekend away or even those who can plunk down upwards of $20.00 on a yoga class. 

In a world in which mind/body techniques are effectively integrated into therapeutic practice and graduate schools might, conceivably, be churning out eager minds well-versed in mind/body and yogic techniques then this kind of enlightenment, these tools of self-care and self-soothing might just be accessable to everyone.  And it could be billable by therapeutic businesses as a therapeutic activity. 

Now this day, on a mass scale, may not be tomorrow but I believe steps towards it are happening today.  Through motivated and passionate persons like the graduate professor who are willing to impart this learning to a generation of students, with curriculums wide enough to allow for these discussions to be had, in therapeutic workplaces open to trying the programming, and studies on these subjects continuing to bring more efficacy to the field this new journey of healing is beginning. 

My hope is for a future in which an affluent benefactor (kidding, well sort of) could fund my dream project: non-profit holistic therapeutic centers that would incorporate mind/body healing, animal-based therapies, and somatic psychotherapies all under one roof.  The more people I meet with like-minded passions the more I feel this hope may one day be attainable, whether for me or for someone else.  In the meantime I guess I have to hope for a temporary benefactor to pay for me to go to the Integrative Mental Health Conference, or just resign myself to the fact that for now I just can’t afford enlightenment. 

Stay tuned for the second part of YOGIC EQUUS at the end of the week. 

Also, much thanks to www.itsallyogababy.com for listing me among her favorite posts of 2009 and to http://www.cirkla.com/newsletters/112209.htm for listing my blog among the many wonderful yogic bloggers of the blogosphere!