Rehabilitation of a Yogi: The End
September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
“…and they lived happily ever after” is the classic ending. This is not it.
The conclusion of my six-month journey through introspection and self-healing feels like a celebration. I’ve fought my demons, I’ve had tea with my fear, I’ve embraced the addict inside. When I started on this road my goal was to explore the physical rehabilitation from a back injury. But (as usual) my expectations had little to do with reality. Writing these weekly missives from the front lines of my rehabilitation has been at times difficult, awful, and a struggle, while at other times exhilarating, stupendous and a joy.
What does it mean “the end”? It’s a simple concept until one examines it further. We say “every story has an ending”. I’ve heard that, but is it really true? One story informs the next. One action produces a reaction which produces circumstances for further action. Cause and effect, the law of Karma, shows us that all things are interconnected. Every seed bears fruit at some point. The timeline is immaterial.
In a Tarot card reading it may seem frightening when the Death card appears in the spread. But the meaning behind this foretold “death” could be a long overdue breakup of a dysfunctional relationship, moving out of an old crappy apartment, or quitting that boring job that’s making you miserable. On a deeper level it may signal one’s readiness to let go of an old thought pattern that is no longer useful. Death could mean the end of giving in to the temptation of drugs, alcohol, overeating, gambling or other compulsive behavior. So actually Death could be very good news!
There’s an exciting new prospect just around the corner: a more fulfilling career choice, a new romantic partner, a fabulous new apartment. Turn the page and to discover the next greatest chapter in your spiritual development. Something old has to end so that something new can begin. The end of each exhale is empty but full of promise for the inhale to follow. Until one day when the inhale does not follow. The death of the body may come suddenly or after a prolonged illness, but that end is assured for all of us.
Perhaps by studying, examining, and embracing the small mundane endings we may be better prepared for the eventual cessation of our personal human lives. No matter what happens after death (and no one really knows) it’s clear that there’s a beginning implicit in every ending. It’s how things work. In observing the dharma, the reality of what is, we begin to experience death as it is without the habitual judgment. Nothing lasts forever, anicca, the truth of Impermanence can be seen, felt, smelled, heard, and tasted. As the chant goes,
“All things are impermanent / They arise and they pass away / Living in harmony with this truth / Brings great happiness.”
At the end of a yoga class we rest in Savasana, Corpse Pose, and though one may assume it’s morbid, cold and uncomfortable, in practice Savasana is much different. It can feel delightful, restorative, tranquil, and perfect like the period at the end of a sentence.
This column Rehabilitation of a Yogi has come to an end. But this end is also a new beginning. The swirling mixture of tenderness, hope and fear is a heady cocktail for this drizzly Tuesday morning. May we return to equanimity by the balm of acceptance. And may these words be of benefit for all beings everywhere.
Namaste. The Divine in me says wassup to the Divine in you.
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