Thursday, February 26, 2009

Surfing the physical plane

A big part of yoga is being present. Being present to your practice, to what comes up that needs your attention on a physical or spiritual level, to life and those that share it with you, to what is serving you and what is not. Being present, truly present, it really difficult. The mind wants to fly forward and backward - caught in memories, plans, hopes, patterns... but what about the now? What is happening in the now is very subtle - a silent complex orchestra of subtleties. It is in that present space that you can check out a blossoming lily and really see the magnificence. It is in the now that you can really listen to what someone is saying and respond from your heart. It is is the now that you can tap into all you need to know - truth and love.

Lessons from Tantric yoga texts suggest that a novice should work on being present for just a few minutes a day - and slowly you will start to see and be able to stay there longer until it is constant. It is a process but one that is so interesting to me. Why do humans have a hard time just being? Why do we make so hard for ourselves and one another? Don't get me wrong I have all sorts of plans and memories and behaviors that I get trapped in - I am just working to park them to the side more often and breathe in what is actually happening moment to moment.

When I catch myself totally disconnected, absolutely cruising through my day on auto pilot, it is at these moments that I then like to switch it up completely - undo my routine, switch directions on the sidewalk, do something to shake myself awake again. So how does one remain present in a world of jobs, mortgages, responsibilities and relationships? That is the big question right ...

For me sometimes this is as easy as breathing deep, smiling, exhaling. Some of the time it is nearly impossible and takes a little bit more effort to connect again and find my flow. Usually stepping on my yoga mat does the trick - the process of prayer in motion puts me right there. But even then there are times when frustration and life worries sneak in. I practice this little visualization trick - I imagine all my worries, jobs, things I need to do and all the thoughts that never cease, as crows. Cackling, large black crows - and then at the beginning of my practice I send them all to roost in a tree. I acknowledge them, know they are there and need to be addressed and promise that right after I am done with this I will get back to them all. And there they sit, dark waiting shadows parked on branches and I forget about them for about an hour and a half. By the end of my practice some of the little petty ones have flown away - and the bigger ones are easier to deal with.

I am aware that there are times in my life when I will not have the time to go through this whole process. While working on plans for fundraising events I find my head swimming around - jumping back and forth - and getting nothing done. On the weekend I work in a very busy, tiny bar. My co-worker and I literally run our asses off for hours straight. We usually do it with a smile and a laugh. But as anyone that works in a very busy atmosphere will attest to, there are times when your brain is swimming with far too many things that actually need to happen right then and there. This is called being in the weeds. Yikes! It is in these times that I step on the mat within my head ~ and breathe deep full breaths. Nothing productive will get done with a crazy chaotic mind - and people can read the maelstrom in your actions and energy, and they in turn respond to that energy making for a messy atmosphere. It is in these types of moments that I work the hardest to find my flow again; And when I tap into this inner yoga I find a buoyancy that helps me through situations and helps me find that place of ease. The sweet spot of balance...

Every one of us has a different way to find this flow - you can see it when people find it. You see it in their art, their actions, their passions, their work - and it is oh so beautiful...

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