Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Are Just Where You Are

What is it that makes us want to be out of our own life; are we really thinking that it is better somewhere else? Lately I've been seeing people inhabiting their bodies around town as if for a period of time. It feels as though we really do simply find ourselves inside this particular shape or shell, and move around reacting to everything, sometimes blocking out the incoming information to escape the present moment. I was riding on the subway today with a bunch of people who were actively doing something other than riding on the train. The cacophony of multiple headphones going full blast vied for airspace. So many people disconnected from the people around them, not listening to the sounds of the train moving or making contact with each other. For me, the train car was a delicious floating space full of interesting people, aspects of each other, all of us between one place and another, spending time together in that one moving place. We were truly fellow travelers in a place and time. Watching the flashing illusions of a passing train, feeling the movement of the train on its tracks. swaying, stopping and starting, sweating, and drying.

Yoga can help so much with being where you are. Living in the body you have, accepting that the journey is one of getting to know that body, becoming familiar and continuing to explore the world through the means available in the body and the mind. What else is there for us to use? Of course our senses can be developed in different ways, our skills and abilities take us in different directions, but fundamentally we live in the body and make the choice to be present or work to absent ourselves.

Again tonight in class I was struck that just being present is the whole point of practice. It's not about losing oneself, but actually finding and being oneself. It is useful to draw attention to the continuous expanding and contracting that is the breath in every movement. It reflects our energy and release. It helps to focus the mind when we draw our gaze back to the undulations of breath in motion, to laugh at the forgetting and remember again. It was like standing on the train, open and loose, flowing with the train on the tracks, breathing with the car full of people, even wearing earphones and reading e-books, playing electronic games and ignoring their own presence. The difference that was enormous though was that the students were glowing blooms in the fading light of dusk, each breathing, taking the time to be, finding the way to open to that sweetness in the moment. Even when the going got demanding, or they were stumbling into the unknown, they were finding themselves. What a beautiful way to discover that even though we take the chattering mind wherever we go, we can stop and set that down, let that go, and breathe right where we are - wherever that is.

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