A Place Beneath The Surface

Bikram yoga once saved my life. I got really into it, practicing the 26 postures nearly every day in a 106-degree room, and for an hour and a half my mind stopped. I took advanced courses with Bikram himself. Then, everything changed.

I moved to Hawaii. Without a car, there was little opportunity to go to the nearest studio half an island away. I told this to one of my yoga teachers before I left. She said:

“It’s ok, something new that you need will come to you.”

And it did, in the form of scuba diving.

Scuba diving saved me, too. Dropping beneath the waves into a still presence, moving with the surge, and becoming familiar with a world that I didn’t know to be possible.

Then that changed. Scuba diving was also meant to leave my life in its frequency and intensity after returning to the mainland – I didn’t need it like I used to, but I couldn’t recognize it at the time.

Instead of appreciating how it changed the way I moved through the everyday world, I held onto needing the activity to solidify my identity. I started making expectations and goals and demands – I need to dive at least once a month or twice a year, or something like that. When I hung on, it didn’t make room for change, and it ended up hurting other things instead.

I still carry what yoga and diving gave me. They taught me stillness and beauty, showing me a place to drop down beneath the waves. It doesn’t have to be in the yoga studio, or under the water’s surface – it can be at any moment.

It is not so important for me to force doing these activities anymore, but rather to love them whenever they occasionally pop into my momentary life. It’s one of things I wish I had known earlier, but could never have.

I recently got a job that will take up many of my evenings, including the nights of my coveted meditation classes. There is change again in the air, but now, I can recognize it, and open instead of close to it.

What space, what room, to see what will come next. It’s actually rather exciting.

“An Ocean In Between The Waves”

I have been seeing things, lately.

            

Plucking my eyebrows in the mirror, I look into my eyes. I get really close to the reflection of a blue iris, almost touching it, and notice my pupil adjust. I pause, and connect with love, feeling divine light explode in my chest (I feel it, I am it). When I do this, the black of my pupils expand. They dilate, letting in more light. They dilate, letting in more light. I see a physical response to love in my body. I cry.

I once see the trajectory of jets, of the paths they would take, moments before they actually did. Looking through a window at white-laced streaks across the blue sky, I see their futures open instants before they took them.

A thick and contained drop of water captures my attention. It rests on my car windshield and catches the sun. I see it move across the glass as my car turns. And then, I see the world reflected through it. Through the underside of the water drop, I see the trees pass upside down. I see this water drop’s whole moving world reflected through itself.

Our bodies are 60% water.

          

This is what I have been seeing, lately, when I’m not looking.

Rather than what I usually do, a looking without seeing.

 

A Diary

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank

 

For some reason, I never had to read Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, for English class. I recently picked it up, in hopes of putting some perspective on my own life and remembering what is more important than myself.

Little did I know, how much it would take me into myself.

 

“I don’t think then of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

 

Anne records “all the kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart,” including “extraordinary things [that] can happen when people go into hiding.” Her Jewish family and a handful of others were secluded in a secret annex during the Holocaust of WWII. She questions, “I wonder whether you can tell me why it is that people always try so hard to hide their real feelings? … Why do we trust one another so little?”

 

She writes of difficulties with her parents, falling in love, hopes for the future, fears of the present, air raids, burglars, and politics they hear on the radio

Near the end, she talks about how she has two sides to her, how she is a “little bundle of contradictions.” Her “dual personality” is jovial and cheerful on the outside, and deep and introspective on the inside.

This has been on my mind too of late – reconciling my “happy” and “sad” sides, my “good” and “bad” sides, my “wanting” and “trusting” sides.

I recently learned that suffering happens when we are on one side or the other – when we think in sides. I am happy right now, and I am afraid of losing this happiness. Or, I am sad right now, and I want to be happy and afraid I won’t get what I want. When we live in these extremes and sides, in this dualism, there is always somewhere to get or stay, so we are continually striving and living in fear instead of just being where we are.

The two sides are one: yin and yang, polarities, a duality. There must be a whole in order to have opposites.

When I live in the whole, knowing both sides are in me and there is nowhere to get to because they will always be there, it somehow appears less stressful. It sometimes feels more real, more me, more loving.

But, this often seems easier when I am by myself.

Living in sides is frequently activated when we are in relationship with others. For a host of reasons, which I am only beginning to understand.

 

Anne’s last entry:

“A voice sobs within me: “There you are, that’s what’s become of you: you’re uncharitable, you look supercilious and peevish, people dislike you and all because you won’t listen to the advice given you by your own better half.” Oh, I would like to listen, but it doesn’t work; if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks it’s a new comedy and then I have to get out of it by turning it into a joke, not to mention my own family, who are sure to think I’m ill, make me swallow pills for headaches and nerves, feel my neck and my head to see whether I’m running a temperature, ask if I’m constipated and criticize me for being in a bad mood. I can’t keep that up: if I’m watched to that extent, I start by getting snappy, then unhappy, and finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and what I could be, if … there wasn’t any other people living in the world.”

On Being Human

My thinking has been hard on myself lately: Looking unsuccessfully for a job, living at my parents, grateful for what I have yet still wishing it could be different. Thinking that I am not good at the practicalities of being human.

In my less compassionate moments I get lost in thinking “I can always do something better, to be better.”

Then, I start noticing how I am human. I eat (sometimes too much), I cry (sometimes too much), I sleep (sometimes too much), I love (sometimes too much), I try (sometimes too much). I laugh and swear when I hit my funny bone, I check my facebook page more than appropriate, I get rejected, I don’t get everything done on my mental to-do list, my plans don’t work out, I keep living, I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night.

Wait a tick…

I am so good at being human. I am SO good at being human.

 

I do my best with what I have and who I am at any given moment.

We all do.

We are SO good at being human. Our existence is enough.