Rehabilitation of a Yogi: The Ground of What Is
July 26, 2011 § 2 Comments
Ever feel like you’re floating away in a hot air balloon of hope, fear, despair, anger or depression?
“What if I’m alone forever?” “No one will ever love me.” “I always feel like poo in the morning.” “All my friends are happy and I’m miserable.” “She’ll never call me back.” “I’m worthless.”
On and on it goes.
In meditation practice we learn to recognize that as thinking. We label it very gently, with a lot of kindness, “thinking”. And then we return to feeling the breath in the body. We return to what is. The sensations in this body are poignant reminders of what is actually occurring in the moment.
The first two points of meditation posture are: the seat and the legs. Whether you’re sitting on a cushion or a chair it is useful to bring your attention to the seat of your posture. At the start of the sitting period connecting with your seat on the earth, feeling the support of gravity, and relaxing into its solidity will allow for a lift in the torso, release in the shoulders, and ease in the neck, jaw and gaze. You can come back to your posture at any time in your meditation practice.
The ground is there, present, ready, neutral, offering unconditional support. We do not take that support for granted. Having looked deeply into the truth of impermanence one may realize that this very ground which is holding steady and gentle below us was at one time boiling liquid lava, and at another time a sticky stinky swamp.
For those times when I’m caught up in thoughts, worries, when I feel anxious or aimless or confused, there are a few remedies which can help right on the spot. The trick is of course in applying those remedies. Mountain Pose, Tadasana, allows me to feel my feet, all four corners of each foot, planted into the floor. Reaching the arms overhead into an Upward Salute, Urdhva Hastasana, I press down to lift up. Flowing from one pose to the next with the breath I pay attention to the minute changes in my posture. Is it possible to lift the arms without changing the alignment of the spine? Can the knees stay soft? Can the shoulders relax with the movement of the arms? Yoga is a fantastic tool for grounding oneself in the body. Join me in exploring these and other grounding poses on Wednesday August 3rd for the first class of a 6-week Beginners Yoga Series.
When walking down the street or stairs or on a subway platform with every step we can feel the tender reality of our Mother Earth, and we feel the breath as it flows in and out of the body. This experience of grounding helps to tune into the reality of interconnection, the interdependence of all organisms, molecules, atoms, protons, electrons, quarks, etc. We are all in this dance together.
Like the Buddha, like Jesus, like Mother Theresa, like Joan of Arc, like all heroes and villains who came before us, we touch the earth. We are poetry in motion. We are lovers, fighters, kings, queens, thieves, merchants, travelers, performers, teachers, students and much much more. Dignity is our human birthright, for no other reason than this ground beneath our feet. She’s our support, friend, healer and witness.
Contact me with questions. Thank you for your comments.