Monday, December 10, 2012

Seeking Wisdom


It’s cold outside. It’s time to come inside. The Medicine Wheel in Native American spirituality uses the direction north and the season of the winter to invite us to hibernate, draw inward, and reflect on our deeper and true wisdom. One way to think of this true wisdom is the instinctual knowing that is beyond rational thought. It’s instinct. In the yoga philosophy of subtle body (energy), the part of the body associated with this connection to our inner knowing is Ajna chakra, or the 6th chakra located on the forehead between the eyes. This energy center is often referred to as the 3rd eye, the one that looks inward instead of those which look outward.

Consider the idea of using this time of cold to come inside, hibernate in a way I suppose, and further develop this inner knowing by the deep work of looking inward through the practice yoga and meditation.

Try a simple meditation technique I call the “There Is” practice. First, sit. Close your eyes. Start to listen and pay attention to everything you can experience, both inside and out. You could become aware of sounds, smells, textures, thoughts, emotions, images, anything. Without any judgment, simply notice everything and point to it with the phrase, “there is.” For example, “There is cold. There is the sound of cars passing. There are thoughts of work. There is a cat licking my toes.” Try not using personal pronouns (I, me, and my) and let things just be. Before you react to anything, just sit with it and try to be an observer. Allow your mind and thoughts to do what they will, but remain the observer that notices your thoughts, sensations, etc. This practice may help discover that who you are is deeper than your thoughts, experiences and emotions. Those are an important part of who we are but in themselves do not make up our true identity, an identity that is based in awareness, an identity that is this inner knowing.

Come to yoga this week where we will practice the inner knowing as we feel our bodies move and breath in yoga and devote some of our time sit in meditation. If you’re looking for more meditation opportunities, you are welcome to drop in to our 3rd session of our Yoga Nidra series we are hosting at Prana Yoga Wednedsay nights from 7:15-8:45 pm.

Here’s one of my favorite winter poems that speaks to this practice of listening.

The Winter of Listening

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,

what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
difficulty
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
otherness.
Silence and winter
has led me to that
otherness.

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

~  David Whyte  ~

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