Walking meditation practice has been an important helpmate for a while now. It teaches me to be present with every step, to experience the movement of body, mind and breath. I learn about being attentive in the midst of sight and sound and uneven surfaces underfoot. Resting afterwards, I appreciate the wonderful gift of respite.
Category: <span>The Spiritual Journey</span>
I recently had a discussion with someone who felt very drawn to the yoga Warrior Pose. My thought was, yes, I can understand how during this difficult era one could feel a strong pull—feet grounded, arms up.
This conversation reminded me of a story my teacher shared: A long time ago in India, there were two warriors near a dangerous cliff. One warrior, determined to best the other one at all cost, backed the second warrior towards the cliff’s edge. Then, warrior number one began a furious attack. The second warrior (I call him the wise warrior) dropped to his knees. The angry warrior’s plan collapsed as he toppled over his opponent and fell off the cliff instead.
The take away for me was: Always strive to act in a way that is appropriate to the situation by remaining as clear minded as possible and not be driven by crazy aggression or other unhelpful attitudes.
Once again, I read: “Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate.” —Eckhart Tolle
I still remember a moment, at the age of ten, when my non-thinking mind slid into a barrage of unhelpful mental patterns. It was an eye opener for me, in my late twenties, to come to an understanding that awareness does not rely on thinking.
This first happened at a silent yoga retreat after a powerful chanting session which triggered an inner landscape which was shockingly clear, fresh and creative. After the retreat, however, it was difficulty to deal with the habitual energy of a thinking mind when it returned, since that state the Buddhists call “emptiness” was still unfamiliar at the time.
I have come to think the solution is not to disparage the thinking mind but celebrate it’s useful aspects and at the same time to develop the skill of being able to enjoy the benefits of suspended thinking. To do that, it helps to bring attention to the natural breathing process, for example, and/or to practice deep relaxation. Also, the long term practice of meditation was fundamental to my learning to separate thinking from awareness.
Gudrun Mouw (c)
October 22, 2020
Every day has been an inexplicable challenge. Right now, California has dangerous air quality due to out of control, killing, destructive wildfires due to massive lightning strikes. The anxious energy is almost overwhelming on top of the many other challenges we have been facing in our beloved nation.
As an antidote, I have been reading Swami Muktananda’s PLAY OF CONSCIOUSNESS:
“Just as the Pacific Ocean remains an ocean even when it breaks into waves, in the same way, as long as you are aware that the whole universe is your own splendor, you will realize your (personal experience of) Godhead, and remain in that realization despite your tendency to see the universe as separate from yourself.”
The fog lifts, a breeze bends the long grasses, and this western dirt is summer dry. Another stay at home corona virus order presses down on activities of distraction. Anxiety passes through like a south wind on the way to the ocean. There is a resurgence of “hysterical intolerance,” says the woman with 6 names. May all be safe. May all be well. Om Tat Sat.
“I will not be afraid to enjoy
what is beautiful, and to believe that
as I give to the world, so the world
will give to me.”—Unknown
I look at these Zinnias feeling grateful and heartened. In spite of a recent surge of national hatred, bigotry, cruelty and selfishness, this bouquet reminds me how important it is to keep cherishing that which affirms, that which gives generously and that which spreads goodwill and joy. I smiled when these flowers greeted me as I arrived to teach a yoga class, and I am smiling now.