Sunday, November 1, 2009
Now is Harvest Time
It's Harvest time. I think that this meant a lot more to our grandparents and great-grandparents, many of whom were raised on the farm or who were agrarian for much of their lives. Even if we aren't running our hands through the soil for our daily sustenance, I believe there are many forms of harvests in life. These Harvests equal understanding what you've cultivated, understanding what is, and learning to enjoy the present moment. Yoga teaches us that now is the time to feast on the banquet of what life is offering.
We celebrate the life that causes us to grow. We celebrate understanding that we are all somewhere in our season of growing, of blossoming into our own potential. We make several harvests along the path to this potential. These harvests are not only harvests of years or experience, but also harvests of understanding and realization. Perhaps we have ripened in our career and its time to ask for a raise; perhaps its time to try a more advanced yoga practice, or commit to a consistent meditation practice. Or perhaps our harvest is realizing that things are perfect the way they are and we can learn to be still and appreciate that. I believe one of the richest harvests is simply being present with what is right now. These harvests come and go, and if we are not prepared to see them, if we are not present and mindful, the opportunity, the realization, will pass us by. Rainer Maria Rilke says in his poem, "Ripening Barberries," that unless we learn to harvest what is here and now, unless we come to realize this cornucopia of abundant being inside, we are lost in a world of seasonless stagnancy. Kinda harsh but very true. Here it is:
Already the ripening barberries are red
And the old asters hardly breathe in their beds.
The man who is not rich now as summer goes
Will wait and wait and never be himself.
The man who cannot quietly close his eyes
certain that there is vision after vision inside,
simply waiting for nighttime
to rise all around him in darkness--
it's all over for him, he's like an old man.
Nothing else will come; no more days will open
and everything that does happen will cheat him.
Even you, my God. And you are like a stone
that draws him daily deeper into the depths.
We cannot wait for some other time to gather what we are searching for. We must find it, to whatever degree, now. We cannot base our life on contingencies. Unless we learn what abundance is present here and now, we can never hope to see it in the future. Yoga, meditation, breathwork are all ways of learning to open our eyes and see what is here. Every practice is a harvest. We practice until we find the harvest in every minute, where the regale of the world opens up to our understanding and we feast on our lives.