I'm still reading Stephen Cope, and this morning I read something that helped me "get" it.
It is important to understand that in the yogic view, the phenomenal world is not seen in itself as unreal. It is just seen as the tip of the iceburg. Our delusion is not that we think of the gross phenomenal world as real, but that we miss the hidden depths that underlie it. We miss its interiority. And thereby, we reamin oblivious of our deep and subtle connectedness to the whole realm of mind and matter.
... The goal... is not to disengage from the phenomenal world, but to turn to embrace it more and more deeply - to discover its hidden depths. And in order to do that, paradoxicaly, we do not reject the vicissitudes of the embodied life. We do not reject suffering. Rather, we turn and go thorugh the doorway of suffering. We turn to embrace our neuroses, our conflicts, our difficult bodies and minds, and we let them be the bridge to a fuller life. Our task is not to free ourselves from the world, but to fully embrace the world - to embrace the real.
OK, now that is something I can work with. I've experienced this paradox before - when you open yourself to the pain, it diminishes. Over the past couple of weeks, I've actually been admitting to people - and most of all, to myself - that I'm in pain: talking about it, exposing it to the air, experiencing it fully and seeing how it felt. Today, for the first time in ages, I feel like myself again.
Aha! It's interesting to me that I used a phrase at the end of my last post about "the path opening inwards" but I only just realized what I meant. The yoga was there, in my heart, all along.