Post Spring Break (from 365)

“Our practice is a shelter we build for our spiritual selves.  It is the work that we do to safeguard and support the possibility of spiritual growth.  The winds of life constantly wear away at this shelter, but if we stick to our tools, the shelter will hold.”

-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat:  Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga

Day 11 – Returning from my solo camping trip and the end of spring break has been difficult, but bittersweet.  The realization while hiking alone that Nature has been effortlessly manifesting its stillness and rhythms simultaneously while I am lost within the busy chaos of work and everyday life was needed.  The return to Orlando gave me the opportunity to see and feel something that has always been there, but I had lost touch in my efforts to get away, and that something was the love of family and safety of home.  And yet, Rolf points out in today’s reading, there is still much work to do in order to be present for these gifts and opportunities.

I’m not sure that yoga is the “right” way, but it is one way.  Daily practice is one tool I use to get through the tough and contrary forces which forge my work day; nonetheless, the forest and mountains and the waterfalls remain and the love of my family thrives.  Hiking through the woods (somewhere about mile 12), the news feed that runs through my mind constantly quieted and I knew that everything will be okay.  So, too, it was hard to lose our Winnie dog, and her passing on Friday night marks an end of era (of sorts) for our family.  Right until the end, she was sweet and loving.  There are so many miraculous and omnipresent processes at play, we just have to remember these.  As I step on the mat today, I remember why I practice.

Vast.

vast

Practice without renunciation is avoidance. Renunciation without practice is not long-lived.  Together, practice and renunciation make all our dreams possible.

Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat:  Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga

Day 6 – For years, I awoke and rose at 3:55 a.m., shuffled out to the porch with a half-cup of coffee and a big glass of water, and jumped around, pounding my feet and joints into their current somewhat decrepit state of present moment.  I was convinced that this movement was the answer.  I maintained a precarious, yet disciplined, schedule, ate small doses of food spread strategically throughout the day, and collapsed in bed at 6 p.m., ready to do it all again.  And, like all things this regimen, I became too tired, hungry, and injured, to do this.

Abhyasa, practice, and vairagya, nonattachment or renunciation, work hand-in-hand.  I use to believe that renunciation (nonattachment) meant I had to renounce certain things, like bread or beer or a cup of coffee or French fries or chocolate cake or missing a workout, but even as early as today, in rereading our book for a fourth time, enjoying three years of separation from the pounding I gave myself on the porch, I understand so much more.  Vairagya is about the renouncing of old habits that no longer serve one, and it enriches one’s practice (abhyasa).

I, too, like Rolf, find “in the peace of the early morning…I let go of the need to do anything or be anywhere.”  Learning about life, I study my movement and my stillness, so that everything becomes a practice; standing becomes a practice, walking becomes a practice, sitting or lying still becomes a practice, and dancing becomes a practice.  In the stillness of purposeful, intuitive movement or the quietude of meditation, the vastness of the moment unfolds.