The music of silence

Last evening was my first yoga class of the year. I was hesitant to go back to class for some reason..I was afraid that the class would be too intense (I still haven’t progressed a whole lot in my inversions) and I wondered if I had the stamina for it, in this cold weather. I decided to go anyways, because Sue, my yoga teacher, has a new focus each season and I wondered what it was this winter.

I’m glad I went. The class was blissfully wonderful. Just being in the same room with other yogis is a wonderful thing-the positive energy sends a vibration into this universe. Whats more, we began class with this mantra that used to be my school prayer back home, wishing everyone a good life, nourishment, brilliance in work and peace. It definitely felt good to be home again.

At the end of the class, feeling at peace and grounded, I could see more clearly what had been nagging at the back of my mind the past two weeks. I don’t know if you have noticed it, but everytime one takes a trip and comes back, there is a subtle shift in life. A re-evaluation of status-quo. A starting over and seeing things in new light. And since I have gotten back, I have felt that something is not quite the same. I have been doing yoga everyday and meditating, but there is some block in the pathway. Yesterday, in the silence of my mind, I could see what it is. I had felt suffering.

Being in India, one cannot escape it. There is a constant hum in life there. People seem content and an unbelievably huge population manages to co-exist beside each other. And yet, there is a loneliness that can only be found in a city. Poverty that seems to imply that people have no time to care for their fellow beings. Constant stimulation almost as if one cannot be alone and cannot feel silence. Perceptions that indicate that conforming to society is more agreeable than personal happiness. and adding to these images is the suffering of being away from loved ones..

And yet, this is life. The reality. Life is full of suffering, both personal and collective. and while someone is happy, there will always be someone else who is not. As Buddha said, suffering is universal. And maybe if we can accept this suffering and all of the emotions associated with it, our suffering would in fact reduce. To suffer is okay. If life were good all the time, how would we ever cultivate understanding..? And without understanding, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, there cannot be love.

As soon as I realized that part of my home-coming was tinged with sadness, I felt much lighter, as if a burden had been lifted from my head. That doesn’t mean I’m going to wallow in it. But I’m certainly going to remind myself that life and everything in it, is impermanent. so is suffering and joy. I will look at it as another opportunity to cultivate equanimity. And above all, that we are inter-dependent, and so, by cultivating happiness and peace in my life, I can reduce the suffering in this universe by a small amount. and I hope that my thoughts will touch others around me to similarly lighten up their lives.

May we all have peace, S.


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