This morning, I woke up feeling sore from yoga last evening. Basically, we did a few backbands in class, ending with urdhva dhanurasana or upward bow pose. This is actually one of my favorite poses, but yesterday, with more emphasis on alignment and in general, it seemed harder than I expected…with the result that this morning, my hips hurt and I can’t do a forward bend (in other words, i can’t touch my feet). It feels very awkward.
Normally, I would get worried and try and force it. But this morning, as I woke up at dawn, all I could feel was compassion for my body. and a need for gentle stretching. As I sat in meditation after a rejuvanating stretch, it came to me…that everything that hurts and is painful, does not necessarily have to be a bother! Though my body hurt, I could choose whether or not I wanted to get worked up over it…This idea extends from the yoga mat into the real world. Pain and hurt is part of everyday life, but it is our own inner workings of the mind that translate that pain into suffering. We agonize over our body, over situations, and over people…and yet it is all in our head. Yes, a situation can be uncomfortable, but it is up to us, it is our choice as to whether we want to obsess over it, go through all the drama and suffer, or to simply accept it for what it is, and let go.
As I sat there in the quiet morning, I could see that pain comes and goes, as does joy. These are but passing phases. Underneath these emotions is a steadiness, a peace where nothing matters. A deep place in us, our core which is really not affected by any of this. This core of ours, our deeper self, our own divinity, if I may, is perfect in every way…a witness to everything in life, but totally non-judgemental and completely compassionate. Accessing this place in ourselves, requires a true acceptance of the place we are in right now, and a letting go. To loosen our grasp on life. To take a step back from the details, the emotional highs and lows we go through each day, to the bigger picture where there is a steadiness, the steadiness of change, of impermanance, of the true light of the day.
I have this lovely picture of Green Tara above my altar. The other day, I was gazing at the picture, and suddenly the picture opened up in three dimensions…I could see into the space behind Tara, and around her..I could actually sense the spaciousness in the picture…It was a lot like seeing 3-D photographs, where you need lateral vision to really get it. Thats how life is. There is more to it that meets the eye. There is space in the darkness, the gaps, which we miss out when we just go through the motions. Its like the silence in the music. Without silence between notes, there would be no music. Similarly with the breath. It is when we focus on the entirety of the breath, the gaps, the expansive space between each in-breath and out-breath, that we can experience the true unbounded limitless space that is actually right here at hand.
It made me smile…the thought that until we choose to be bothered by what happens, none of it really matters. And as I finished yoga this morning, I still couldn’t touch my feet. That was fine with me. It would be okay in a day or two. Meanwhile, it had taught me yet another lesson. Of impermanence. And I would willingly learn this lesson everyday at the expense of being sore 😉 Okay, not everyday. But once in a while is okay 🙂
May we all enjoy the moments at hand and look beyond them, beyond the confines to the true space that connects us to the universe, to each other..
With much gratitude and love, S.