Wednesday, September 30, 2009
When Life Gets Real.
Something happens when life slaps you in the face. You wake up from that doldrum dream of your tired routine and start to see what is really going on. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes tragedy to strike before we realize how far we had dozed off into a life of meaninglessness.
The spiritual teacher Pema Chodron says, "Before we can know what natural warmth really is, often we must experience loss. . . .The natural warmth that emerges when we experience pain includes all the heart qualities: love, compassion, gratitude, tenderness in any form. These feelings that we've become so accomplished at avoiding can soften us, transform us." (Shambala Sun Nov. 2009)
Years ago, my wife, Celeste said something similar when faced with the stark reality of a friends death: "When you prepare to die, or get close to death (perhaps someone you know), you might finally get awake enough to realize and experience the part of yourself that doesn't die. You are free in that moment. I am alive in that moment. I am experiencing everything in that moment. And I am grateful and I weep--thank you, Missy Barron for your presence and the reminder. You pass in to that place of the whole. You remind us to experience ourselves as whole and alive more often." (Please read the whole story: Destiny's Willing Student.)
Yoga helps us practice mindfulness so that we can live fully and appreciate life every day, and not only when tragedy knocks you about the head. Yoga is not an escape from life but a way to carve right into the heart of it, with presence, so that every day is beautiful, not only the ones after near misses.
May I suggest this week we practice experiencing this rich and colorful life, and let it open our hearts.