Wednesday, April 28, 2010

While Mind Makes the Meaning We Can Let the Story Go

Like a living history of the Boston Tea Party told from all the variant points of view, our minds create us with meanings, triggering feelings that define us as individuals though they don't really intersect or make a solid entity any more than all the Tea Party stories make one historical event. Anyone with siblings knows how confusing and funny it can be to try to get a memory corroborated only to find that no one experienced the same thing at the same time.

During a yoga practice it is possible to notice feelings and emotional reactions, even physical aspects that are fleeting. This introduction to impermanence, to the momentary nature of what we tell ourselves about ourselves, can be an entry into letting loose of that which we use to define ourselves, limit ourselves, and make up our stories about who we are. How we use what we notice is also a choice we make, sometimes instantaneously, sometimes as part of the structures we use for years.

I use the breath as a way of reminding myself of the immediacy of my being. This sounds so new age, but actually there is so much grace in it, so much texture and support. It is the foundation that is always present. Maybe my legs are shaking as my body is struggling with an asana in this moment, or maybe it is my mind that is defeating me with judgments and dismissiveness, or driving me with shapes and goals. When I find that soft inhale, feel my shoulders release on the exhale, I know that everything is still possible, that I am not these stories, not my own or the ones others might tell about me. I am simply this breath, an opening in the moment that my heart can fill.

A series of distinctly separate images carry the meanings that any viewer brings to the viewing. We cannot leave our stories completely, but we can come to see them for what they are, as the reflections of stories on the surfaces we see, and with that, we can free ourselves from limitations they impose.

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