Timeless Awareness in an Everyday World
When I look at my life as a series of paintings, one vivid day emerges...
It was at the wedding of dear friends-- an exquisite summer day on lush green grass under trees and blue sky. One of the guests was 5-week old William, a little person who seemed barely larger than his father’s loving hand. His spine had no independent power of its own, and his body assumed the shape in which it was held. At one point, a little lady of about 4 yrs old, closer to his own size, ran excitedly by. It captured his attention. His whole body became charged. His spine lifted, his head urged forward. The pure attraction for life was inciting him to grow and develop. The outside world was calling, “Move! See! Do! Feel! Know!”
Like little William, our life begins....a pure bundle attracted to all that we can and will be. The Vyuthan Vritti, the outgoing beam of attention, draws us to experience the multiple dimensions of an outside world. They come and go.... joy and sorrow.... fortune....calamity....friendship, enmity, fear and surety, etched into the patterns of our lives. We sustain ourselves throughout circumstance, insult and injury -- as cause, as victim, as onlooker.... Impressions linger. Pain and pleasure and pleasureless-ness fill our life. In time, we have become a bundle of thoughts and feelings, wanting to feel empowered rather than vulnerable, right rather than wrong, safe rather than threatened. We have come to know ourself as a separate body/mind entity in a physical world.
“Who am I?”
Who asks? Who sees?
And Who sees me change and remains unchanged while painting infancy to old age on the canvas of my life?
I look inward towards the Center. This is Nirodh Vritti, when the outwardly directed mind turns inwards towards the Seer at the absolute center….
an awesome event, Yogis say, equal in magnitude to turning the flow of a river upstream....I find the almighty PAUSE… the gap in which my bundles of feeling and thinking drop away.
Observe Little William. He has no sense of separateness because of his small and helpless stature. He is the pure, open, original canvas, inviting the colours of the world to paint a unique story as it unfolds.
A double-sided brush simultaneously points and paints in 2 directions – to the original Self, free from impressions, to the world of forms that stamp their shapes upon our mind. It is an ongoing oeuvre d’art: seeing the world in the Light of the Seer, and the Seer Lighting the World. It is the indivisible and timeless life principle permeating all. It is Yog.
Yoga trains the attention towards Self- knowing. Here, the original Artist turns the vast and infinite potential into weddings, golden days, birth, and death; here is the self beyond age, stage, and gender....deeper than organs, muscles and bones, tissues and cells, more fluid and alive than blood, speedier than thought and sensation. Yoga Aasana practice is the Nirodh Vritti for the body. It turns the outer sensation of ‘body’ towards inner knowing. It allows time to see the mind … watch it wander… become focused…and come alive to the inner self throughout the body.
As I inquire into how I move and remain still, how I breathe or retain breathlessness, I am drawn into the organic flow of the present moment. I am learning to respond energetically to the vital force in the body. I discover the intelligence permeating the material form. The arms, legs, hands, shoulders, back, torso, belly, neck, crown, the organs, the blood flow, the thoughts, the knowing sense-- all converge in the glory of being alive in this moment, just as it is. The unacceptable is acceptable, the impossible is possible; the pain is sacred, and the healing is assured. This moment, with all its gifts and offerings is as precious and remarkable now as it was when it was when it was wrapped in the innocence and vulnerability of the new-born child in a father’s hand.