The Sun She Comes and Goes
February’s night creatures
and frank impatience.
Sometimes warm, sometimes hidden
behind high clouds, today’s sun teaches
about the pleasant and unpleasant.
Though thoughts arise,
light continues to spread
This morning I woke up late. It was close to 5:30 am. I was not happy about it, because of my schedule to teach a morning yoga class. I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough time for morning meditation and yoga practice. I lit two candles, took some water and, instinctively, began the yoga pranayama called Bastrika, or rapid breathing with retention.
I remember a story told by one of my teachers, Swami Vishnudevananda, at his ashram in Grass Valley, California where my daughter and I stayed for a time. He said, “Meditation is like jumping into a mountain stream. It is crystal clear when you look at it, but even when you just step in, it becomes murky. With stillness and patience you will see how natural currents wash away sediment stirred up from the bottom.”
I realize how the breathing practice quickly created currents that washed away a challenging mind state. My lack of ease about how much time I had or didn’t have could have impaired the meditation process, but the breathing practice released this obstacle.
I am reminded of a story from another Ashram where I lived for nearly two years with my daughter. I asked one of the Swami’s living there: How can I tell the difference between my thoughts and the thoughts of others? I’m having a great deal of difficulty with that, I told him.
He said, “Observe, carefully, how the thought arises, then, you will see where it is coming from.” This has turned out to be very good advice. It has relieved worry and cultivated compassion for the human condition common to us all. It has made it easier to take responsibility for my inner landscape. Today, for example, I was able to observe how anxiety arose but did not arrive, or find a place to reside.