Bala, Deepest Strength
I am sad, really really sad. I find myself once again be asked to move, to leave my home. The home I just built, filled with glorious light, love and laughter. I who work so enthusiastically with and for connection, who yearns so deeply for roots seem to be continually lifted off the ground.
This really shouldn’t be surprising to me as it was the first real experience of this ripping of my heart from the soul of community that started me on the road to deeper study and practice; the desire to ‘build home behind my eyes’. It sounded so right and even dare I say, a bit wise. I never dreamed of the true implication, the true need. I am Mary Poppins, the north wind blows and my umbrella must be raised. It’s not that I am consciously calling on that north wind, it just seems to have my number close at hand.
The thing that is running through my mind and flowing through my veins as I wait in limbo for this chapter to actually close and the next to reveal its landing space, is the question of capacity to truly feel, to permit whatever the feelings are, sadness, grief, loss, anger, excitement, possibility, without added dialogue. Is it achievable? Can I sit and let sadness wash over me without engaging and giving it a fully fleshed story?
The antidote has always been to occupy myself with something else: eat, exercise, call someone, watch a movie, go to a museum, shop. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but in the moment they are just delay tactics that only serve to have whatever the feeling is, roar back at some other inopportune moment. Generally when I am just.. about.. to fall.. asleep. I want to find another way. I want to feel whatever it is, authentically allow it to move through me without giving it shape. Move through me and then go. How?
There is a practice here, to sit, permit feeling and not engage. It’s hard, so very hard. But its also natural. Natural as my daily meditation practice. In fact it is the inculcation of going deep, of melting the sense of shape and identity carried in my stories, etched in my bones that opens and clears this path. The sense of me is precious but also impervious, resistant to the expansion craved. How to fulfill, enjoy the roles I am called to enact without believing this is the only shape of me? How to find the steadiness inherent in a fixed point and still move? What is needed is infinite strength and infinite flexibility simultaneously.
Bala, means strength in Sanskrit. It is the strength of the elephant able to lift a tree from its roots and nimbly, gently pick up a single straw. In the highest sense it is the strength of consciousness. This strength is on view everywhere all the time and most potently felt deep within. Experiencing, for just the briefest moment, the sweetness of letting go and in that release, the merging with wholeness that is eternal but forever breached on the surface with life’s continual display of diversity. A diversity that can be beautiful or painful but always, by its very definition, separate. So the longing for roots then is the call of belonging and what is belonging if not a return to wholeness.
This wholeness is not inert, it is dynamic and alive and thus must on the surface show itself as diversity. If I am anchored truly, deeply in that inner wholeness, in bala, the strength of consciousness, in my Self, I will recognize it more and more elsewhere, everywhere, and know it is available regardless of place or particular shape. There is an infinite flexibility to this and elegance. There is also promise and hope.
For now though, I remain deeply sad and while I would prefer to be happy, there is no denying the truth. So I meditate because it is cumulative in its power and effect. And when the wave rises I am more equipped to permit its flow, to inquire with a sense of curiosity because I have a foothold. I have a practice that permits the experience my inner strength, bala, the strength of wholeness, the strength of consciousness to show up in a practical, beautiful, desired way in my life.
I still want to stamp my foot and demand why? Why is this the case? Surely there are other lessons for me to learn. Yes, there must be but I guess I’m not done here. I am not alone in wanting to live boldly, in crafting a life that is dignified in the face of whatever life throws at me. The matryoshka dolls keep cracking open and there is s sort of freedom found in choosing to participate and even more freedom in having increased skill to do so.
Sit, practice and bring what unfolds to life. We are beings of vibration and we are, as I wrote about last time, already connected. The practice is in knowing, experiencing that connection deeply so that even in the face of separation, we bring wholeness.