I hope you can believe me when I say this really happened…it did. I was just about to email Charlotte my article for this week when I realized the folder was missing from my desktop. There was a thunderstorm last, and my laptop was plugged in – it was gone, the article, the folder – all gone…and no, it is not a modern day version of “my dog ate my homework!”
Prior to my retreat, my level of awareness was much different, apparently. When this sort of thing used to happen, I could go a whole gauntlet of self abuse depending on how important the document was, what I had planned to do with my time…Anger, blame, frustration, even passing it around to others was more than possible. Tonight (it is now 12:02 am Friday morning), I had a chuckle at the irony of it. Six hours had gone into the article I had written. Every once and awhile it does not come easy; the words refuse to flow out onto the virtual paper, attention drifts. Despite the time it took to finally finish the article, it led to this article and a signpost along the path that I was made aware of. “Calm” is not a word I particularly like, to be honest. I prefer the word “stillness” instead – calm is subject to much too many interpretations, so we are going to use this word from now on.
Stillness of mind
When we practice inner stillness in our everyday actions and activities, one of the benefits is that we avoid getting caught up in our Ego’s fits about how everyone hates me, even God is out to get me, why does it happen to me, “oh I’m going to be up all night,” “now I’m never going to…” do I need to continue?
When I found the article was lost for good, I maintained no opinion about its loss. Instead, I accepted that there was good reason for its disappearance. In this state of inner stillness, the reasons are not always immediately forthcoming, but we are able to look for the upside of situations instead of focusing on the downside. Over time, events in our lives we would normally label as bad begin to disappear all by themselves as we become more and more accustomed to approaching our lives from this still core within ourselves.
In stillness, we see the illusion that external problems really are. Through a simple change in our thoughts and by exercising a little control over our Ego’s, we discover that external difficulty is nothing more than a mental construct we have perpetrated though our own consciousness.
Whether we can accept it or not, our daily lives are clouded by a false sense of reality most of the time. Cultivating stillness of the mind allows the true core of your being to shine through, dispelling the illusory appearance of this physical world and allowing the infinite beauty of creation to become apparent. This does not mean that everything around you is going to disappear in a puff of smoke, but it does mean that you will see the perfection of the Divine in all things.
In our Yoga class, home session, or Yoga of daily living, pay close attention to the labels your mind places on experiences, feelings and interactions. Notice how the label your mind attaches to the situation determines your reality. Laugh when you feel like crying, smile when you want to frown, hold the stretch and focus breath and awareness, meditate until self-awareness vanishes and you find out what you really are…
Fixing the consciousness on one point or region is concentration (dhāraṇā).
A steady, continuous flow of attention directed towards the same point or region is meditation (dhyāna).
When the object of meditation engulfs the meditator, appearing as the subject, self-awareness is lost. This is samādhi.
These three together [dhāraṇā, dhyāna and samādhi] constitute integration or saṃyama.
From mastery of saṃyama comes the light of awareness and insight.
I wish you all a wonderful week and progress on your journey. May the light of awareness and insight shine forth from your being and become a beacon of love and compassion for all humanity.