Soundtrack to this blog – Searching by Blackalicious
I just finished a course on the precepts (yama’s) of yoga with Michael Stone and timing is everything! I’m sure that no matter when I chose to do this course, it would align with life – but I can’t deny the incredible parallel process that emerged from the experience of slowing down to participate more fully in the intimacy of life!
I have a dear friend who often reminds me – “the struggle is the blessing” – a line in the song ‘Searching’ that stands out for me over and over again (as well as many other lines)!!
…And in this day and age, I realize that slowing down really is an art, a practice that requires conscious action because…even if we are simply sitting, being, breathing – we are in action.
Within the searching – I now understand that if I slow down enough, no longer is there a need to search…instead there is listening, watching, feeling…everything is already present!
The first precept is Ahimsa – nonviolence, non-harm.
The first exercise we had to do was sit face to face with our partner, a stranger for me, and answer the question – how do you kill?…and answering the question involved speaking for 20 minutes without interruption to your partner as they listened! Well, firstly…it sure took a few minutes to get past the ego to authenticity! What an incredible exercise of vulnerability and how amazing it was to hear and be heard! I have been engaging with a sitting practice daily, and to witness the responsibility within non-harm is incredible. It’s near impossible to truly live a life of non-harm to anything on this planet but to exercise an awareness is possible! Stone (2009) argues,
“industrialism is such an all consuming impulse that it’s hard to think outside the box. In fact we have interiorized the aspects of industrial materialism to the extent that we treat our bodies as resources that should keep up with the impossible pace of increased productivity. The body, however, just can’t keep up. We tend to forget that we – our bodies – are nature. The way we control and repress our own bodies and feelings is reflected in our treatment of other life.” (p. 64)
Meditation, yoga, ceremony…these practices and way of life support ecological intimacy within our bodies and soul. There are so many layers to life in which we expose ourselves to harm – yet choosing to slow can down provide us with the experience of being present to the ecological system that we are, engaging in the intimacy of each moment.
I am present to the responsibility I have to slow down, to be present, to understand non-harm and so much more in order to sustain life on this planet.
Consider how does an awareness of your body contribute to the health of our biosphere, Mother Earth?
Stone, M. (2009). Yoga for a World out of Balance: Teachings on Ethics and Social Action. Boston, USA: Shambhala Publications.