I didn’t post last Thursday. It was Thanksgiving here in the U.S.A. and we had a big, beautiful celebration with family and turkey and pies at our house. I sat down to write several times that week, but even though I love the holiday, the things that came out weren’t Thanksgiving-ish at all. They were kind of whiny. So I didn’t post. Plus, I have to admit, the last post left me feeling a little exposed and I needed some time to sit with that. The stuff that I’m working with right now in my life/yoga world is getting right into my personal nitty-gritty and I have some mixed feelings about it. Share with the world? Hide in a corner? Today, something in between…
I had my appointment with my meditation teacher a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve been doing the practice that he gave to me. This is leaving me feeling a little exposed, too, I think. I feel like I’m exposing myself to myself and I’m not sure I’ll like what’s under the trenchcoat. I keep doing it because I also feel a strong and hopeful sense that something is going to come of it–something along the lines of insight and greater clarity. I hope it’s worth the angst.
In my meditation practice, I’ve shared that I have an affinity for mountains: solidity, protection, weight, groundedness. With this in mind, my teacher suggested that I work with a river flowing from a sacred mountain as my object of meditation. I picture and feel myself in the presence of a sacred mountain and imagine it is sending some of it’s divine nature directly to me through this flowing river. Sitting down with this idea each morning, I find myself relating first to sacred mountain, enjoying the familiar sense of solidity, connectedness and earth. I eventually get to the river and some days I’d have more of a river connection than others. The river is always there, but the mountain still appeals to me a lot.
On one of these days, I had this shift happen. I got to the mat: Asana—check. Pranayama—check. Mountain—got it. River—there it is. So I sat there with an image of the mountain (mine is mostly snowy peaked with the sun rising behind it) and then the clear flowing river that started coming toward me and underneath me. This time the river was very important. The mountain was there and was offering me this experience of the river. The river allowed me to stay connected to the mountain, but for the first time, I had the sense that I didn’t actually have to be the mountain.
I didn’t have to take on the qualities of the mountain and embody a solid, massive, immobile, grand kind of expression, because the mountain was there doing all of that already. On this day, I was greatly comforted by the presence of this strong mountain, but I didn’t feel compelled to be mountainy myself. Instead, I understood that I am more like the river. It occurred to me that there is a fluidity to my body, feelings and experiences. I can have a connection to this divine mountain, carrying some of it along with me (silt,perhaps) without acting out the mountain’s part. After all, a mountain does that so well. I felt so light and so free to just be human without all the weight and solidity of a mountain. I felt like I didn’t have to fight against myself quite so much. There was a small and sweet river-surrender. And then the gratitude. Part of my practice is saying, ‘thank you’ and on this day, I felt immense gratitude to the mountain, the river, to this practice of yoga for the freedom that I felt. It was a “thank you” to this divine presence, God?, that I could sense and to whom I was speaking and to this commitment that I’ve made to flow with this life of mine and let it become what it is destined to become.
Wow. So there it is: a little of my vulnerability and clarity. There’s even some God in this one. It isn’t there every day, and it isn’t always pleasant, but there’s something in this practice to be seen and felt and known. I’m pretty sure it’s worth it.