“Everything is on the move. Art should be still.” – Ad Reinhardt
Reading about Buddhism has me dreaming about bats, and these winter days just knock me out. This is what it means to be a heavy sleeper, I say to myself with a deep inhale. I open my eyes and roll over to the iphone on my night stand. The more I read, meditate and practice, the less I understand or connect with my phone. This does not mean that I use it any less, but my black rectangle box no longer feels like a part of my body. Waking up to this fully lit screen just feels unimportant. What does this have to do with me? I am indifferent to the thing I dive into on a daily basis. Dreaming in metaphoric bats and connecting the infinite darkness of my mind with flesh, blood and brain power, sure, but my iphone just feels strange to have so much value and meaning compared to anything else on my nightstand. Notifications continue to light up the screen. Social media leaves a strange taste in my mouth the more involved in it I become. It is not for the weak minded, unless it is only for the weak minded. It is the love\ hate thing that I can’t figure out all the time.
I choose to ignore the rows of grey bars piling up on the screen. I finally am indifferent. I do not need approval. I do not need to be seen one way or another right now. I am whole. There are no great debates or questions about today, about splitting time or parts of myself. This is self-awareness where I know that I know, so I head to hot yoga with known and even steps like I did when I was going to meetings, going to teach ballet, going to that job I had. The steps are even and non-complaining because this is the work, I think to myself, and even as I say those words in my mind, I say them evenly without intellectualizing too much. Nothing overly poetic happens in the quiet space behind my eyes. I just follow my rain boots through that glass door and up two flights of stairs to my home studio, to my Yaletown Yyoga. I check in, put my things in a locker, and find a place on the shelf for my rainboots. The Communitea pot is full, so I pour a small cup and sit quietly. I have nothing to prove here. It is not an event that I am early, or even that I have tea. There are no surprises this morning as I follow my bare feet into the hot room, roll out my mat, and sit myself up on a block. I take slow sips of peppermint tea from my small ceramic cup. This is what it is to be still. Not a parade, or a show, or any form of display to prove my peacefulness. This is just another morning of going with the flow. Doing what we do now.
These days are shorter and darker leaving little room for dwelling in between the next thing. The need for decisiveness is real, so a few weeks ago, before seasonal depression took its full turn on me, I amped up my physical activity; hot yoga, long walks, home practice, power classes. Endorphins are real, and they will save you from chemical bitches like depression. Remember that you are always okay, but keep in mind than you are always capable of slipping into delusion. It does not always make sense. It will never make sense one hundred percent of the time, so follow your tried and true patterns. For me, those start with yoga and movement. Follow your own steps to where you are going. It does not matter if you are unsure. Go. Just go without over thinking it. Your body knows when it is time to move.
The hot room continues to fill up like most classes here lately. We are here without a party. We are here without any big distractions, events, or dramas. At first, connection to anything in recovery is mind blowing, but in time, you will want your peace. Right now, I am free from nostalgia, romanticism, and ongoing day dreams that keep me from an open heart in this inviting place. Nothing is beautiful if you can find it, so I am not waiting to run home and share the ground breaking news with everyone because in this place it does not matter. Our instructor guides us all to inhale, and for the first time since I started my yoga journey, I close my eyes and let my arms rise on my inhale and fall on my exhale. Blind to my image or my involvement. It is what it is in this place, and if my dancer’s pose is the highest and most vertical in class, it does not matter because the real beauty is in just being without judgement or comparison with everyone. I remember hiding from myself and my movement with wandering eyes wondering how it should go, but this is unity in every sense. We are one through the breath so nothing stands out as the best or worst of its kind. This is the humility they talk about everywhere from A Course in Miracles, A.A’s “The Big Book”, The Bhagavad Gita, and Buddhist teachings.
“Unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a window place. In the still mind, in the depths of mediations, the Self reveals itself.” – The Bhagavad Gita
Walking meditations translate to meditative movement, and this all comes together as freedom from yourself in this life through mindfulness. This is a peaceful existence to me. Kundalini meditation encourages the belief that there is a light within us that is our true self. We use blessings and chants revolving around “I am, I am”, but Buddhism says that there is pride in saying “I am” and relieving ourselves of that pride is true freedom and happiness ( The Mahāvagga, chapter 1, part 3). How can both of these ideas exist? Even A Course in Miracles in its fundamentally Christian teachings, encourages detachment and mindfulness practice. Some of ACIM’s first lessons begin with detaching ourselves from objects in the room by saying “I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place]”. Eventually the practice builds to detachment from emotions and delusional thinking, and it actually looks a lot like every other prayer or meditation practice aside from a few basic guidelines. Read more. Read often. Read everything that interests you.
Our libraries should be so diverse! I think this is necessary as we find out more about who we are in sobriety. The exploration part of this process means everything to me. Learning to balance information with what my body and mind find to be true : this is recovery. This is what recovery and healing represent to me. Detachment feels like letting go and expanding. If all of this revolves around freeing up space and making more room, doesn’t this mean that we remove ourselves at some point too? The idea that attachment to our feelings and our perceptions causes more suffering overall resonates with me in my world of day dreaming and creative dwelling. I am here. This is not my moment. This is the moment. Level is my home. The places we explore with our minds are remarkable, and learning to ride the wave instead of chasing after it, is a gift. Be still. ❤
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