Wisdom and Growth #18
“Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”. Joni Mitchell
Yup. It takes such courage to be human. To wake up, greet the day and move through it with purpose, hope and service. We build our lives on a tacit belief in certainty: the sun will rise again, my eyes will open, my breath will nourish me, my heart will beat, my mind will provide me with information necessary, my body will perform accordingly. My life will be better today then yesterday or at the very least, as good.
And then, something happens. Our health declines, injury occurs; the job is over, insurance vanished, the foundation we thought was there turns out to be a house of cards. We move through life as if there is certainty built all around us but in truth, everything, everything on the surface of life is mutable. We believe we have control until we experience we do not.
Still we must move, we must live and so we embrace this unspoken belief, that it will be there, all of it, until it isn’t. Why then do we ask for certainty before we will move when it comes to change, to risk? Where is this to be found? Yes, there is the need for due diligence, intelligence and what we might call ‘soul searching' before we make big changes, but how many times do we prevent ourselves from growing simply because of doubt?
Doubt. The Tanrtic tradition says this too is a form of the goddess. Doubt can drive us to get clear, to search out information, gain knowledge or she can play the role of demon, and stop us from shifting, from growing to whatever degree possible at the moment. If we waited to be truly certain, to have the 100% conviction that arises from the experience of certainty we might never move. It takes great courage to be a human. How much more so to be a fully realized one.
Practice listening to out hearts and mind, that is a practice of courage. Wisdom of the heart that can only be heard when we take the time to truly listen; that can only be applied when we marry it with our intelligence and knowledge. Naturally we look to expand the later, we go to experts of every kind, teachers, professionals. But what of the heart? How do we learn to listen, to truly hear its voice?
We must clear out the debris, quiet the noise of everyday life as beautiful and awe-inspiring as it can be and go inside to the silent depths of the heart. As the days grow darker, we are naturally invited in to settle, to snuggle near the flames of hearth and home. The spark of that flame emanates from the core of reality, the core of our very beings. Here there is wisdom.
Courage does not mean foolishness though it may look as such to one who is not listening. We perform due diligence and then we leap. The practice of asana teaches us to have confidence, flexibility and a certainty born of experience. We quiet, go inside, listen to the teacher, take our courage and manifest. What the pose looks like, how far we go is not important. Only how we meet it.
And still, we look for certainty, for what is un-mutable and unchanging. It seems to be inbuilt. We know that 100 % certainty it very very short on supply, if at all. Even though we say we know we will die, no child truly believes it or should. Life is too precious to think about its ending no matter that as we age that is exactly what we are asked to do.
What then is un-mutable, unchanging, eternal? And why are we driven to taste it? Consciousness, energy does not die, does not end. Where it goes after death is a mystery and the answer dependent on our beliefs. But this science tells us, energy does not die. The yoga tradition tells us that is the same energy that breaths the body and beats the heart and so too, is eternal.
Meditation then is the trajectory of growth in awareness; the journey into source that is dynamically alive, pulsing at such a high rate it appears silent yet is the source of everything including certainty.
We have an inkling, an inbuilt mechanism, the call of the siren that sings to us that says, there is more. There is something that is unchanging, eternal and I want to find it, experience it, taste it. This is what sets us on a path. Some call it a spiritual path and indeed it does fill the spirit but I prefer to think of it as a life path because it permits the fullest living of life possible now. Not at some future date. There is more but we have forgotten. This is the dance of Natarja as he steps on the demon of Apasmari. The demon of forgetfulness.
Naturally we ask, how do I recover what has been forgotten, lost? What is the method? How do I find that path and travel it? How do I rest awareness in that which is the place of all dissolution and eternally the source of every creative impulse?
Meditate. We do not meditate for any one time as beautiful or peaceful as it might be. We do not judge any one session as inconsequential or unsuccessful as fiery it might be. Meditation is cumulative in nature. We soak awareness in the light that is colorless and contains all colors. Such that when we come back to the surface we bring something back with us and we are changed. This change is subtle at first and asks us to to take note. To do this we must heighten our senses, strengthen our body and mind, pay attention. In a word, practice.
It is a double benefit too. Yoga in its fullest, brings us experience and knowledge of this eternal never changing condition and it refines the very mind body we use to take note, to recover, to remember. We do not practice to get out of life or because it is all an illusion. Far from it. The Tantric masters say this life is a gift so much so, that we need everything working on full throttle so we can partake and delight in its joys and be steady and helpful in its challenges. It matters a great deal. Over time, with practice and stabilization, our senses heightened, we bring what is known in deepest meditation out to our so called ordinary life. Though we come to understand more fully that there is nothing whatsoever ordinary about this life.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary OliverThese words remind me that life is entirely what I make of it. I am compelled to make the most by being the most fully realized human possible.
Courage. It takes great courage to be a fully realized human. Do not let doubt stand in your way. Use her to know your heart for certain. Meditate