Our true self calls from deep within and this authentic revelation is beautiful and amazing. Life is tricky, challenging and presents so many stories that begs to differ this idea. In the practice of Yoga and Ayurveda we are given the gunas that reveal to us the pattern of clarity, restlessness and inertia. There are so many ways to share the patterns that show up in our life. Even in the world of counseling moving towards congruence and self actualization/realization is a main concept. Imagine living from a place of inner richness, harmony and peace. Imagine sharing this truth in a loving way that supports others with intelligence, the ability to problem solve and be heart felt. We get honest with what we are feeling inside and know that the doubt, fear, despair are very real and very much a part of this whole divine expression of life, but it is not where we have to live from there is always a chance to turn something rotten into something amazing.
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.
The frogs are in full effect and it’s amazing that they can be so synchronized that when one stops, they all get quiet together, and when one begins it’s in harmony with all the others, truly amazing. Today I had someone ask, since I tend to spend a good bit of time thinking on life how do I get quiet. This is a great question really!
The only time my mind is ‘quiet’ is when my body hurts. If, like today, there is a trigger with my neck, my brain becomes so dull and throbs with pain that it actually hurts to think. But everything is out of alignment and for me, this isn’t the idea. However, I can be in a place like meditation and everything resonates in such a way there is a harmonious wave of thoughts (or no thoughts) that flow freely. That is the continue to flow without me getting caught up in the details and they become so fluid that they make their own sound, hum, or on some level sound like the frogs out my window. The vibration of sound looses it’s distinct form of words and coherent thoughts, but reminds me of the life that still flows…that I continue to pulse with life. Some refer to it as resonating stillness, or that the dynamic nature of being comes into such alignment that it appears steady.
This is meditation of course. For me this dull feeling I have right now isn’t the idea, it’s just all my energy is going to restore the muscles that have been tweaked. I don’t want my mind to flatline, I hope the serenity comes from knowing the tune of consciousness that hums through me as me.