Thursday, January 20, 2011
Inquiry & Acceptance
Prodding, poking, pushing at the self, at others, at conditions, into what seems so: this is reactive nature at work. Curiosity sometimes masquerades as the motive for questioning things, for aggressive inquiry. Fear may be hiding at the core in some of the pulling, pushing at and away; flowing under both timidity and boldness. How can we practice yoga, or meditation for that matter, as an essential inquiry and accept the inquiry without all this manipulation?
Deep in this tangle of branches the sun simply shines on the snow. It doesn't matter if the snow is covering old pine needles or is clinging to the branches of the wintry tree. The sun simply filters through anything it finds and interacts without hesitation in its specific seasonal angle, heat, duration -- all of which are conditional upon where on this earth's sphere we are observing that it is shining.
This is the magic of awareness and acceptance. With a focus of attention, and deep openness to whatever the attention finds, like the sun's light our attention can continue to shift and reach anything in its path. So with attention, and the key is acceptance. If we must control, name, categorize, and react to what we find, we are lost in the constant push-pull interaction of the surfaces, forever entangled.
The inquiry can be the beginning of noticing how "I," the person I have built out of experiences and meanings, with materials like conditions and reactions, respond to the inquiry itself. Do I resist? Do I tense up? Do I weep? Do I compete with myself? What is the pattern I have already created for this category of "inquiry?" Once seen, let the reactions rise and fall. Allow the light of your awareness to filter as does the light of the sun, reaching whatever it finds in its rays. The ability to witness the rising of responses, like feelings and thoughts, tensions and spaces, comes as you accept that you can continue observing without getting lost in the tangle.
So we practice. "Practice" implies that it is an ongoing experience, not a once-and-done kind of knowledge. Each moment that I inquire and accept is a living present moment, connecting to something far more universal and open than the reactive nature I observe.
My sprained ankle is healing, gradually giving me insights and experiences of myself functioning in the world. With each step I find I am inquiring as to the balance between the constant friction of judgment and testing and the open space of acceptance.