Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Simplifying Even the Moon
I woke up this morning to a thick fog all around the house in upstate New York. Water droplets on the screens and windows full of white glare. The view held no trees, no hills, no valley, and gave no sense of what else might be out there. What is transformation if not new understanding? As in the discovery of sub-atomic and nuclear physics, the old ideas of Newtonian principles no longer applied to everything, yet had their sway over the mechanical world we can see. Beyond that, with high power microscopes and telescopes, the view of the world became so much larger and new "rules" seemed to make things work. And there is so much we cannot see if we must take everything as it appears. As with the clearing of the fog this morning, gradually the stone wall emerged, and a height of tree beyond, and eventually the valley with streaks of hill behind it. Now the sun shines bright and I can pretend that all is revealed to me. Let's not even begin to consider the insect life, or the microbes in the soil that are nurturing and attacking the roots of everything in the garden. Just that I know this is all going on out there is like the discovery of the atom!
It helps to simplify to the core of being. I watch my blind cat function in the world with remarkable stability and happiness, or what passes for that on the scale of human emotions. He doesn't see but can hunt, he doesn't see but can jump into the chair. He will run to the sound of my voice across an ocean of not knowing, and seems secure, purring and finding my leg to rub against. He is functioning in the deepest sense. It is this that I seek on my yoga mat as well. Can I approach the moon itself, or take in the energy of a star? Can I place my weight in my foot, feeling the energy align up through my leg into my pelvis, forces of gravity holding me securely while I extend in a most natural way through my spine, letting go of the weight of my head, and supporting a lifted arm and lifted leg for Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)? It doesn't work if I start by taking my body in parts, aim for a shape, or present myself with the struggle of "balancing on one leg." I will not get there by pushing my leg into the air and reaching for an external shape. Yet by finding the root of my soft foot resting on the earth - deeply connected to the balance in my pelvis as the foundation - and then release the energy from in the core of my body - of my being - I feel the flying moon taking form in me. The moon does not balance in the sky, nor hang. Remember, it's visible presence is a reflection of light from the sun. Perhaps I'll use a block under my hand or place my hand on a wall to enable a natural extension in my spine, with energy connecting my heel to my fingers along both flying halves. Reducing fear helps my breath and my breathing helps reduce fear. Maybe I will elongate into this flying feeling on my way in and out of Trkonasana (Triangle Pose), playful, and without goals. Like the fog, the efforting and judging can easily obscure this shining moon from sight.
I think of the people around me with their heads full of ideas, goals, and desires. I love them and wish them well. May they find ways to release these desires and find joy in what they are actually doing (not wishing for summer when it is winter and wanting the sun when there is fog)! May they allow themselves the freedom from the external goals long enough to discover what they love to do (letting the passage or ride be as much for them as the getting where they are going)! May they see in the swirl of ideas an ocean of possibility in which they breathe each breath and explore their authentic self, coming, as they eventually will, into the brilliant light of the sun once the fog clears (just being their self). I cannot make this happen, nor will all my words or yogic teachings make this available to them. Only in their own explorations will their path emerge. As their foot steps in the fog the earth rises to meet it. I see my little cat leap onto the front step, my voice being the open door. People can also find that their breath and their foundation on the earth support their wildest adventures and the softest of moments. I would invite you all to fly as the moon itself.