Searching but not finding, compared to being ever present!

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.

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Tis the season for…Habit Energy!

Things have been pretty quiet on this blog lately – when in reality life has been bustling!  Having just finished another semester of graduate school and then bouncing into work, room to breath got put aside!

I had a reality check this week, something I know happens in life and often I can see it coming: I over commit – get exhausted – loose perspective!   I find it so crazy – I’m aware of feeling overwhelmed and filled with information and action, aware that the candle within is dimming due to lack of oxygen…yet habit energy persists!  This time of year is especially known to be full – it’s like this full bubble slowly approaching that feels inevitable, yet there is always choice…and it seems I often choose too much!

One of the commitments right now is a course with Michael Stone looking at the precepts.  We spent the last three weeks engaged in inquiry and exploration of ahimsa – non harm and satya – honesty…! In those times of being a witness and striving to integrate and practice these two precepts, habit energy persisted and appeared to get stronger when striving to open and redirect the patterns.  The interesting part was having a subtle awareness of habit energy, yet choosing to live into it because I did not have the space for attention to live with clear intentions.

And honestly – I know practice can become habit too.  I have seen it within…that sense of routine, even boredom has crept in!  And the lesson that came up was, pay attention.  It seems simple – to notice and have attention so I can be mindful of my choices, mindful that this “habit” is causing no harm and coming from an honest and authentic place.

Attention resides within intimacy and intimacy rides upon my breath that returns to attention.  Maybe it’s this spiral of awareness that will crack my codes of habit energy…I think the spiral is a powerful natural design that carries that wisdom of this planet within it, so maybe it can serve in this situation…

…but the most important ingredient is – s p a c e .

If I draw a spiral on a piece of paper, I would not see a spiral if it wasn’t for the space between the circles.  If there was no space, it would just look like a blob or a coloured in circle on a page.  So in order to see a spiral – on a page or in nature – there needs to be space for light and colour, shadow and texture to show up.