All too often, anymore these days, the situation that is presented in front of me is a complete dichotomy: yin and yang.
For example, recently on a very stormy evening, just three people showed up to my class. One wanted a very relaxing yoga session. The other two wanted balls to the wall action. It wasn’t until after the class that I realized, “That was the most difficult class I ever taught! Trying to balance both worlds!” However, I handled the experience with grace. In my experience, this balance found between two worlds is where the most magic happens.
I first noticed this dichotomy within myself a few years back. Even though I’m in intense, chronic pain, I have the most beautiful and divinely state of mind as I walk throughout my day. Often thinking, “Maybe it’s necessary for one to feel this much pain to feel this much joy. Seems like some sort of oriental lesson to be learned.”
A few nights ago I had a dream: I took my dog to the vet, and at the counter was the most beautiful, Indian woman I had ever seen. It wasn’t like she was vaa-vaa-voom beautiful; it was the depth of her eyes: I was entranced. I began to notice that she had a sparkly bindi between her eyebrows, and she wore beautiful layers of colorful patterns. Instantly I knew she was a yogi, and a great one at that. And by yogi I mean she was a master of her mind, and a beautiful presence was able to shine through.
She invited me to stay longer, and showed me through a doorway to a room full of people seated in a circle of meditation. I thought, “These doctors meditate? Wow!” I joined the circle with joy.
When I woke up I worked on recovering parts of this dream and another. Anymore I will not allow myself to look at my phone for at least a few minutes after waking. This seems to help in the remembrance of what might remain hidden.
So I didn’t think much of the dream until something major-enough happened to me yesterday. Something major-enough to make me reevaluate my life. Is this a chapter ending, or a book closing? What am I to do? If I give this topic too much thought, I might be creating a reality that is not aligned with the highest good!
Then it dawned on me, “Ohhhhh, Nita, an amazing yoga teacher who happens to be Indian, is teaching a class tomorrow morning. And then there’s an hour and a half meditation after that! And it just so happens to be in the same town that my vet is in. Hmmm, even though this is awfully early for a Saturday morning, I really think I need to go. Something that I find there might help me sort out my thoughts.”
Early morning alarm. Early morning tea. Sliced banana with almond butter and cinnamon.
It felt good to take Nita’s class as it had been months since I followed her lead: she knows so much about anatomy, so it’s nice to have such deep guidance.
After class, the line played in my head, “Should I stay or should I go now?” Hmm, quite a question. I’ll do as the dream said, I’ll stay. It’s been over a month since I sat for such a long meditation, but that’s why hatha yoga was created: to get the body ready to sit in meditation!
I got myself prepared, got myself into a seated position, and I tried to revisit that deep place I just found in Savasana. The room had just two other yogis, and the teacher. Even as I came into seated I thought, “I hope my stomach doesn’t make strange noises.” It happens to people, but it can happen to me if…. I don’t know what causes it!
Months ago, I thought it was coffee, so I held off on my first cup til after meditation. That wasn’t it.
Then I thought it was what I ate, so I ate less or didn’t eat at all. That seemed to help, so this morning I thought, “Oh, I only had a banana, and that was like two hours ago. I should be fine.”
And then it started, “GRrrrrrrrllllllll!!!!” So I thought, “Maybe I’m sitting up too straight, if I sit this way, or this way,” but it seemed like no matter which way I sat my stomach would make a “garble.” Luckily the woman who was closest to me also had a talking stomach, so our bellies were conversing about who knows what.
However, my noises didn’t stop. I mean, there was space in between the garbles, so I had room to go deep into silence, but then it would just “GRRRRrrrrrrllllll!”
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME! MAYBE I DO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH BANANAS! I THINK MY MOM HAD A PROBLEM WITH BANANAS! OH MAN, I’M NEVER EATING A BANANA AGAIN! Wait! Maybe this is happening because I only ate the banana an hour before practice, and with all of those twists we did in yoga, my poor tummy doesn’t know what to do! Yes, maybe that’s it!”
But then I thought, “Whoah. Get a grip. Where is your mind. Where is your citta!? Your mind was so quiet. Let it go! Who cares if your stomach is making noise. This is your experience now. Let go, stop thinking, and float with that.”
Before I knew it, my mind was suspended. Just before my eyes I saw a triangle with a swirly within the frame of its three sides. Instantly, this gave me a flashback of one of the most intense, focusing experiences I ever had in my life. The message from the previous experience, “FOCUS. FFFOOOOCCCUUUUSSSSSSS. FOCUS!!!”
(Imagine multi-tonal, soul-shaking demands telling you to FOCCCUUSSS!!!!)
So I focused. And I focused. And I freaking focused so hard on this triangle. I just kept going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and I still kept going. I was going and going and I was going so much that I saw some sort of cylindrical rod come from the triangle and it entered through my bindi point, into my brain. All the while, the only thing on my mind was “FOCUS.” So I continued to let this inside/out world do whatever it was doing, while I just focused. Focusing, noticing, watching, and I felt as if some sort of adjustment was made deep withing my brain. Nothing bad or strange, it felt right, cooling, and like it balanced my two hemispheres, and catapulted my focusing even deeper and further into my pre-frontal cortex.
Mind you, my stomach ceased to make noise for during this entire experience.
Once I came out of the experience, I just tried sit with this new brain. I tried to hold onto the feeling like how one holds a yoga posture to create that muscle memory. Within no time the garbling returned. I have no problem with sitting and watching my experiences, but I am the most empathetic person I know: so I felt so bad that everyone else was trying to meditate while my stomach is screaming “HEY!” or “WHYYYYYYY! What did you do to me!?”
Here again was my dichotomy: within one meditation I experienced the most wonderful internal experience as well as the most horrible physical experience.
Then it hit me. The one woman who was meditating across the room always sits up Virasana or Hero Pose with a blanket in-between her legs and her bum:
“That’s it!” I thought. “If I remember correctly, that pose is great for digestion!” I slowly swung my legs around, propped myself on a blanket, and the garbling went away completely.
For the last half hour of class, the teacher always plays a segment from one of Bhagwan’s talks. Every time I attend these meditations, whatever he talks about always has to do with my circumstance at hand.
Bhagwan spoke of ease, and asked “What is ease?” That disease occurs when our minds are not at ease. It’s not until we liberate ourselves from our minds that we find ease.
He further explained that often times, we are in a state of pain simply because we are no longer in a state of pleasure. That we drop down the moment we are separated from what brings us the most pleasure.
So we must become balanced, detached from our thoughts, detached from the external. The only thing we can change is the internal. So we must go in, feel at ease, at peace, and then carry that for as long as we can.
At this moment I was grateful that I had that dream that led me to this class.
To deal with my issue at hand, my role should not be of one who makes the changes, and makes the waves, but of one who makes peace within, and hopefully that will ripple without.