flowing in and out
in sync with life
just as it is
There are so many wonderful meditation and yoga practices available for our spiritual growth. From resting in open awareness, repeating a mantra, transcendental meditation, or heart practices. From Ashtanga, Vinyasa flow, Iyengar, Kundalini, or Bikram yoga. There are also many practices I haven’t named here.
When life gets challenging, or when we simply want to step out of The Matrix for some deep rest, which one do we choose? How do we combine it with other practices that nurture us, like exercise, creative endeavors, time spent with loved ones, etc.? When a tornado threatens to uproot our sense of calm, which practice(s) do we reach for in our spiritual toolkit?
You may think this is a post about choosing the ‘right’ one. If you do, I’m sorry to disappoint you. If I knew the answer to that question, I’d probably be making bank and give up my day job! But seriously, where am I heading with these questions?
My thoughts can pop up like sequential, seductive firecrackers in the night sky. I can’t stay focused on one sparkling bouquet of lights long enough before another set of thoughts bursts open through the smoke of the first ones. I’m lost in all the colors without any concrete way to ground my being.
Meditation and yoga practice help to ground me. When the neurons in my mushy brain are rapidly firing scintillating messages of madness, and my body is all wound up, I remember my spiritual tool kit. What practice will clear the fireworks so I can see beyond them to the calming constellations that are constant? What practice will cut through all delusions of past and future and tether me to this moment?
In Dana Faulds poem, “Allow” she writes
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
To simply bear the truth, we must let go of everything. Even practices that promise to fix and solve can be deceptive if we are trying to make something happen - grasping the pleasant, pushing away the unpleasant, being anywhere else but here. For me, the simplest way to bear the truth is to return to this river of benevolent breath, and notice it flowing in an out of the body. Nothing more, nothing less.
When this river of benevolent breath is allowed to flow through all the body’s landscapes, lush and barren alike, without judgment and with loving awareness, we learn to appreciate life just as it is. Our bodies are microcosms for a larger world. If we can stay with the river of breath flowing through it, even for a few seconds to minutes, we can learn to stay in any given situation without judgment and with loving awareness for a few seconds to minutes. With practice a, we can gradually stay a little longer each time.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
In the choice to let go of our known way of being, more possibilities are revealed to us. We can make choices from present moment awareness rather than past hurt and regret or future worry. Our new eyes can appreciate the allies who support us along our path. We might even find space in our hearts for our enemies.
There are so many wonderful meditation and yoga practices available for our spiritual growth. Only you will know which one is right for you. When all of your protective shelters crumble, may the practice be simple. May the river of benevolent breath flow through you. May you fall in sync with life just as it is to be free.