Wednesday, April 3, 2013

If you crave certainty let death be that, for now.

If you crave certainty let death be that for now, for once you achieve that you will see that it is not the goal you imagined but just another moment passing.

Finding the middle path is not a grip on everything. It is like walking with open palms while you feel the gentle swinging of your hips. Pile up desires like clean laundry, used and cleaned for reuse. Then hang them on the line in the sun. Feel the wood of the clothespin. The tree roots, the hand on the machine spitting out little springs, the pleasure of the grip of pin to line that will hold desire as it flaps in the wind, changing colors.

How does it feel to see them there? Beautiful as they hang and flap. Separate from you. All lined up for you to continue in the endless cycle of craving.

Where are your feet, your hands, your hips now? Undressed from the layers of desire. Weightlessness of the middle path poses a paradox. How can you clutch at your foundation and reach outwardly when there is only this shimmering self, naked and aglow?

I like to use the words "find" and "allow" when I teach yoga.   I invite students to come with curiosity and acceptance. I know how hard this is and that we would rather wrap ourselves in the beautiful desires that mark us and make us resemble our expectations.  Freedom doesn't wear such specificity nor can it. As I see my outer self flapping in the sun, making its own shadows, I can feel the sweetness of being without all that.

Death can be seen as the ultimate degradation or the sublime elevation, the cause of suffering or the release from suffering. Perhaps it is a mirage we can use to teach us about the nature of impermanence and the clutching for certainty that so often run our emotional and psychological programs. Steve Jobs spoke eloquently about his own mortality as the predominant inspiration to make the most of his life.

What good does it do to accept impermanence? Well as long as we resist this idea that the moment is the truth of our life, we clutch at something else. We look back, we worry about what is to come, we contort ourselves and others with judgments based on what we think of this or that. 

Accepting impermanence softens the fear of loss, the fear of illness and eventual death. This is fundamentally where suffering comes from, according to yogic and Buddhist philosophies. If I need to be certain of something, let it be death for now. This will give me enough desire and craving to pin on the line and I will not care much whether the pins come loose in the wind.

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