From time to time, more than not, when I have a small window of freedom, that is total time to myself, all I can do is stare out into space and breathe into the pause. No real deep thoughts, no profound inquiry, no motivation, no hesitation, it’s a wild void that I have never known before.
It’s quiet and I can hear the world continue to pulsate around me, moving forward in time. Yet, I feel as though I am experiencing a deep pause. In all the years I have meditated, believe it or not, I would actually feel more of an acceleration, an alignment, even an absorption with the bigger pulse of the world. So, to sit in a ‘spacey kind of mood with complete stillness’ well, I am not use to it, not one bit.
Perhaps it is the lack of sleep my current situation is offering up, or maybe there is a part of my brain that needs that spacey moment to recalibrate and truly withdraw, to pull away from the outer element and breathe deep with my innermost self and be completely present.
This idea of withdrawal in yoga is found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras offer a framework, if you will, to the path of yoga, of connecting to self, or sometimes called self-realization. It is an 8 fold path with this particular aspect, pratyahara is the idea of withdrawal, specifically the senses.
(By the way, I am way simplifying this concept). Fortunately, before my brain needed these moments of spacing out, I spent a lot of time contemplating, or spending great amounts of energy inquiring about the teachings of yoga. On a daily basis I have immense amounts of gratitude to those past 19 years of searching as it allows me to keep my s**t together now.
Part of that time contemplating brought me to the idea of when we move with intention and breathe to expand our awareness of the amazing force of life, then we are invited to turn in and acknowledge the beauty, light, grace, spirit, (fill in the blank) that sits within each of us. Sounds great, and it is…so it amazes me, in a different way, that the current experience of withdrawal is actually one of stillness. Yes, this is what a majority of people teach, but up until now, it has never been my experience.
But here’s the real deal…the Yoga Sutras and the 8 fold path guide us to a place of absorption, enlightenment, or super consciousness – that’s the idea right. But this is my latest inquiry, with times of just spacing out in the stillness how do we then return to our everyday life? Because I am not interested in escaping my life completely. (By the way, I am not the only one asking this question).
How do we take these amazing practices and live them? In those years of contemplation I had an idea to use the 8 fold path in reverse, yep! This then takes you from this place of samadhi, enlightenment to the first concept of ahimsa which gets translated as non-harming in thought, word and action. You see, we all contain enough. Wild right? We actually already contain the ability to stand in our own light, but what is hard is to find harmony (or no harm) in our lives.
So this is where I re-enter my current world, with kindness and care in my thoughts and actions regarding my own abilities right now. Yes, it’s as simple as recognizing those moments of staring off into space are harmless. Besides our inner and outer experiences are in constant change and fluctuation so being aware of how we participate with the constant transformation is a major practice and skill.
So ‘duhh’ my responsibilities have shifted so it’s a new practice. Being okay to just breathe and be with the stillness, that’s all good. It’s the transition from the movement to the pause and back to the movement again, the coming and going, learning to ride the waves of change with a greater sense of ease and awareness while still able to be present to all of it… I have to laugh because it really is hard to transition from taking care of so much to returning to just me.
It’s a dance move that I am brand new to and well, haven’t found the skills yet to be graceful with the flow. My window of freedom just ended and it’s time for me to dive back into the reality of my life. This time with more harmony, more awareness, more permission to enjoy the pauses however they appear.