Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mark Twain Meets Yoga

It took me three times to get up into handstand and stay there for more than a few breaths this evening. I use the wall, so there isn't the fear of falling over, but the fear of either falling backwards or of my wrists giving out still arises sometimes. What I was aware of that third time, after I got up there and focused on my breath, was that I usually hold my breath and don't breathe at all in this pose. In fact, I felt myself slowing down as I kicked up that third time, as if I was coming back into my body from the muddiness of the "worry mind."

Yoga is sometimes said to be a mirror that shows you exactly where you are, and I definitely see how this pose reminds me of the need to slow down and breathe when things get difficult.

Mark Twain once said, "When one's character begins to fall under suspicion and disfavor, how swift, then, is the work of disintegration and destruction." I really like this quote, although I would maybe replace "character" with awareness, or something along those lines, since character implies something a little too fixed or at least continuous for my taste. When awareness is covered over by worry, suspicion, or any other powerful emotion or story - there's definitely a disintegration that occurs.

Worry, suspicion, and the like are, at their roots, really about failing to have trust in the ok-ness of the present moment. That no matter what, at some level, everything is truly ok just as it is. Which is not about having some naive, rosy view of life, nor about letting destructive words and actions go unchecked. It is about the bone deep recognition of the sacredness of all beings - of the buddha-nature being expressed continuously, everywhere.

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