Saturday, June 5, 2010

Upside Down


“Peace is not the same as being anesthetized.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Find freedom within your harness. Find your practice and return to it, day after day, with the understanding that everything can be new. I am not saying force it to be new by pasting a “calm” half-smile on your face while you breathe shallowly through your gritted teeth. I am not saying ignore your pain. I am not saying pretend that the sun always shines. It doesn’t.

I’m suggesting that, whatever you practice, really know that you don’t know what will happen. Be infatuated with the process. It’s insanely difficult to gather all your energy and intention into right now, but right now is all you have. I know. I know. That sounds a little trite…but it’s not, so I’m allowed to say it. Spend about five minutes thinking clearly about that so-called triteness, and you’ll find it to be true.

Today I came under some minor fire about my plans for the sort-of immediate future: “It’s not a sure thing.” Guess what? Life is not a sure thing. Right now, the only mostly sure thing is that waiting and stagnation just breed more of the same, and nothing falls into one’s lap unless one happens to be really stupid lucky. Guess what else? Luck is spelled W-O-R-K.

Life is not a sure thing. Take that reality into your practice, your yoga – whatever you do that gets you “there”. You’ll find this incredible expansion; you’ll find all the juice hidden inside “ordinary”. I mean, really. Have you ever really paid attention?

Instead of bracing yourself against the inevitable pain, maybe remember that it will pass and most likely will pass quicker if you just give up fighting. Ever tried embracing exactly what is, without much thought about it? The pain passes so fast. You forget the concept of unsatisfactory. The instant I quit trying so hard to hold myself up on my hands, I knew how gentle real strength is. I simply was strong enough, and paradoxically, did not need to be all that strong, because in giving up you become weightless.

One of the first things they teach you with horses is how to fall. You’ll hear it in regards to inversions in yoga, too. It only takes rolling right over your neck and crumbling out of a headstand to stop fearing the fall, and suddenly you’re cool with playing left, right, forwards, and back of center. And suddenly going upside down becomes effortless. The impossible becomes possible and now contains the depth, the freedom you so desperately tried to muscle your way to. You have harnessed it…and still, you control nothing.

Go upside down and learn how to fall. 

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