Hide and Seek: thoughts on practice from the underworld.
“You have two choices,” I thought to myself. “Sit in pain and suffering, or move through pain and suffering.”
I decided on the later.
Within fifteen minutes I was in the yoga studio at a very full class. I had to talk myself into staying when I saw all the mats. I also had to talk myself out of lethargy and inertia at 5:30pm on a dark cold evening.
I recalled the voice of my teacher and mentor. “When you are tired, dance tired. When you are sad, dance sad.” So I figured: "since I am depressed, I’ll yoga depressed."
I stayed, moved, breathed, turned my body into various shapes. In so doing I rediscovered an aspect of yoga practice I had, I suppose, long taken for granted.
So here it is.
I remembered that, indeed, the body knows. The body has the incredible capacity to unwind itself—its pains and aches, its feelings and beliefs, its shock and awe--the body is its own knowing organism. Our emotions, like obstructed rivers, held in the deeply grooved river beds of our bodies will flow freely when we remove the rocks and debris. Our bodies will unwind the tightest threads and well kept secrets that we have locked away deep in our hearts when we treat ourselves with gentleness.
There is an unnecessary assumption that gentleness means moving very little, that gentleness equals stillness. Sometimes though the sweetest thing to do for an aching body, mind and heart is to dive into the ocean of a movement practice. Sometimes we must simply and profoundly let ourselves be rocked by the pulsation of rhythmic movement.
These I know and have learned with a steep price tag and a big degree. But I was so acutely reminded in going to class that now I KNOW these to be true.
Yoga and dance are the original somatic psychology methods. Their teachings are many and though universally profound, distinct when they come through each of our unique experiences. Movement reveals that...
The truth is not anything other than what lives inside. We must let go and hold true simultaneously. The game is to get lost to get found. We must be willing to talk to god. God is not the big G up there somewhere. It is the biggest G that lives in every cell, every tissue, every muscle and that is pumped moment-by-moment through our blood and beat across the heart. When every waking moment is a version of a heaven, do your yoga. When every waking moment is a version of a hell do your yoga. When every day is just another day of earthly living do your yoga. It works.
By 'it works' I mean to say that if you allow the spirit to stream through you as you move your body into different shapes, you are literally creating 'seats', shapes, asanas, within which the spirit as you will rest into itself as you. Do not expect the experience to always be pleasant or joyful. But fully expect that your practice will unravel all the necessary layers.
Your body is so filled with intelligence and wisdom. Your job is to create the possibility for the river to flow. Nothing needs to be locked up and stored away. Ok, perhaps sometimes it is appropriate to hang stuff in the proverbial closet for a while, but every ache and every tingling has an origin and is seeking a completion. Your job is to be curious about what they are. Be so curious that you shut-up, and do your practice and become ever more open to discovering what is seeking you.
My philosophy teacher always teaches the concept that whatever you are seeking is seeking you. There are days when we are lost and we do not even know what we seek. On those days move your body, even if just a little. Your body will, through its sensations, seek its own beginning and end of movements, and in so doing perhaps reveal what it is you seek.