The previous two posts were more recent, and this one returns to the flow of the earlier posts.
Good morning! Happy Spring. we can share a bit about what Spring means to us this morning, too.
Blessings... let's go.
Yesterday was the Spring Equinox. I so love these moments of balance. There are two Equinoxes... Spring and Fall... times when light and dark are even.
Winter has the day with the least daylight, and Summer the day with the most. But there are two of these even days... so balanced.
Yesterday, while talking about the Equinox, Ron mentioned how he has some trouble with the word "balance" because it often is taken to mean symmetrical. Certainly there is a balance to symmetry. That is one type of balance, where the two sides are actually the same only mirroring each other. It is true that if we try to hold the idea of balance to this understanding we get into trouble.
Those of us who are doing hatha yoga will frequently find our minds slipping into this understanding and wanting each side of the body to feel the same as and function identically to the other side. And that doesn't happen since the two side are certainly not symmetrical. They actually need to feel and function differently. So, catch the mind when it starts to demand symmetry for balance, and welcome the differences. Then bring those into a different type of balance - one where you use them both, are aware of them both, build strength and flexibility in both - but to fit them individually.
The word that Sri Gurudev encouraged us to strive for is “equanimity.”
Equanimity is a balanced state of mind and consciousness where nothing unsettles that state. In fact, this is very much the objective of our meditation practices. Though there can be many experiences as we do our practice - which can be fun, exhilarating, frightening, inspiring, etc., ultimately we are striving to come into this state of equanimity so that nothing will shake us from it. Then we can go about all the affairs of life aware of the union of all, with no sense of separateness. A state of union, or yoga, is the objective of all of the yoga practices we are doing.
And so, I enjoy the times when the outer circumstances remind me of that balanced way, and always rejoice when the Equinoxes arrive. Of course, the world keeps turning, and the equinox in the world is only there for a moment. This, too, is a useful reminder that to become established in that state of peaceful, blissful awareness we must go beyond the limits of the worldly experience. You have heard that "the kingdom of heaven is within." And so we are encouraged to take the time for our meditation practices.
I say practices in the plural because it is so useful for us to bring meditation into more and more of our daily experiences. Once we learn to be mindful we find that we can note how we are chewing our food, and be aware of how it tastes, note how it will nourish us, consider all of the service of so many that made it possible for us to be eating whatever we are eating at the moment, etc. This engagement of the mental state toward any one thing is a very effective meditation practice. Really listening to someone speaking to you with full attention and setting aside your opinions and feelings about what you would like to say is another great meditation practice. You develop an awareness of what your mind is doing and learn how to still those sidetracking mental waves that come (the vritis). Patanjali tells us in Book I, Sutra 2, that the restraint of the modifications of the mind stuff is yoga. So, by really learning to listen you very much move into that yogic state of being.
As you continue in your meditation explorations you will discover more and more ways to function in a meditative way. Initially these efforts may feel unnatural, awkward and restrictive. But remember why you are doing them, what your goal is. And remember that after a bit of practice many things that at first seemed so challenging become very easy and natural, and a lot of fun. Do you remember learning how to ride a bicycle? Awkward, frightening, maybe even some injury at first. But then how much fun! how useful!
So, at the opening I mentioned sharing a bit about Spring. All of the harbingers.. the birds with their songs and colors... the buds on the trees and bushes... the new sprouts appearing... more and more daylight... warming weather. This is often so encouraging and inspiring. We are reminded and even feel that new beginnings are available to us, that things missed come back, that we can plant and grow, expecting new things ahead. And we are reminded of the seasons and cycles of this life dance. Of course, all of the seasons could remind us of the same thing, but they don't. It is Spring that calls us to open up again, remember, take hope and venture forth.
Enjoy this Spring, please do... open up! remember! take hope! venture forth!