Monday, April 22, 2013

We are the fruits of the Earth too: just one, all one

Reading several different descriptions of the eight limbs of yoga, I am struck again and again by how they are inseparable. It is a strange function of our human way of using language that separates words and concepts, creates constructions for us. The moments when the mind can see this, yet not attach to it, are the openings pervaded by the essential qualities of life. For some this translates to a flow state, for others into nirvana, orgasm, or transcendence. Basically it is a unified condition, not separating into any of the this-and-that usually running our daily activities.

People are not separate either, though it sure feels as though we are if we stick with our mental configurations.  A friend passed along an article about our intrinsic mirroring neurology, that which gives us joy when we see joy in another, and sorrow when we see sorrow in another. This is built in to us, a depth of compassionate connection that can be traced to specific chemicals in the body released in specific reactive moments.  We can cultivate these in our yoga and meditation practices by opening to the flow of compassion, and allowing our feelings to rise and dissolve the barriers. We will not disappear into pain and suffering, quite the contrary, we begin to see that there is so much else that supports and nurtures us.

We are all fruits of the earth.

I brought a handful of grapes to class one day, inviting each student to take one. Some ate them right away, so I instructed everyone to eat that one, and offered a second one to observe. With the flavor and textures of that first grape in the mouth, we looked at the little dark globe in our hands. Each just a grape. Outer skin a little tough and bitter, inside juicy and sweet, and beyond that, buried in the interior, the crunchy seeds that could be seen as the purpose of the grape itself. None of these grapes looked outstanding in the bunch, yet each was so delicious. None of them, eaten by us, would come to fruition through the seed within forming a grape plant, yet each fully served a purpose, perhaps several purposes actually.

Are we not as the grapes in the bunch, each just a grape, yet perfect in our multiple possibilities and purposes? Do we not all have a bit of the toughness of that outer skin, the sweetness of that inner flesh, the potential of that crunchy seed we are designed by our very nature to nurture?

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