Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Practice, Practice, Practice

At what point can I release attachment and simply accept without judgment? I try to begin with myself. Maybe that's the hardest place to start, maybe it's the only place to start. The rising sun doesn't have meaning in its relationships to everything it reaches. It tinges this building or illuminates that quadrant of the sky without adding significance. It is the mind that bestows the myriad stories of soul and heart, of life giving force or cruel burning heat to that rising sun. Infinite beauties and poetic forms inhabit the mind, right alongside the darkest most destructive forms. Attachment to conditions gives meaning, and can turn quickly into a death trap, literally or figuratively. I think conflict is as easily about being wrong as about being right. Either way, the attachment cuts me off from being alive.

Letting go is frightening, so I practice it. I need time to get used to it. I take it a little at a time. Maybe it begins with just letting my belly soften as I breathe. Let that gripping go. From there, I can remember, again, to release my shoulder blades down my back, allow my sitting bones to settle into the earth's gravity, and something softens just a little at the edge of my brain as I do this. There are lots of ways to practice yoga, and the asana sequences and conditions under which the practice takes place. Even there, I shy away from attachment to a particular way or act or sequence.

Of course structure is helpful when I let go. It helps assuage the fear of letting go to have a container that feels that it will hold me... the body perhaps, or the floor, or a larger concept of being that is outside these physical boundaries. Yoga practice offers this container. Meditation is all in my head, yet what happens is that I work my way into a space that is beyond my thinking. In the abstract that sounds cool, but sometimes the way there is really scary. That moment when you realize you have let go and there is nothing holding you, just like a physical letting go and free falling, has its exhilaration and terror all mixed together. It is at that moment that I remember I am breathing, breathing.

Many years ago, when I was not quite five years old, I died on an operating table and chose to turn back. As I mentioned in my last post, my dad's voice called me back. He used to come into the operating room with me, to be there as they put me under. And almost without fail, he would start to pass out as I went down. Now I can feel how he was being my container as I let go, though I think he didn't know it then, nor now that we will celebrate his 89th birthday together next week. So I practice letting go still, and discover again and again that love is that container beyond all physical boundaries, whether I am breathing or eventually choose to return to light.

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