Here’s a digital image for you, one I’m calling, “Surfacing.” It’s not a very Christmas-like image…at first glance; however, there is “divine birth” dimension. Where? How? WTF?
As a beginner in the practice of meditation, mindfulness, and yoga, I’ve discovered something about the content of my own attention and the breadth of its span. Most of what I pay attention to has nothing to do with the actual spatial and temporal dimensions of the situations that I inhabit; and my five senses usually just go along for the ride throughout the day. That’s another way of saying that I’m rarely “in the moment.” Most of the time my mind is automatically wandering and dragging around clusters of feelings that reside in my muscles’ memories. I’m basically flying around and around in a bird cage whose little door is wide open but somehow hidden from my view.
I ruminate, therefore I am; and my rumination is my ruination. All of that highly-evolved cognitive activity that we call thinking, so necessary for our survival as a species, keeps us alive and incarcerated by decommissioning our senses. If we can’t see the open door, we won’t fly away. We’re taught to fear freedom by our own trauma. The curriculum for this self destruction is saturated in our flesh and bones; at the collective level it’s encoded in our enculturation and socialization processes to keep the entire flock from flying away.
Sometimes when I’m on my cushion, my mat, or my iPad Pro, I lean into an arbitrary assignment automatically delivered to me by this mostly destructive curriculum. I do so because I’ve learned that avoiding or denying them nourishes them. I’ve learned that leaning in requires an effort, takes practice, and yields dividends. I wonder if it’s a sin to vacate the Present Moment?
“Surfacing” is the result of one of these leaning into’s. Yesterday I managed to notice the compulsive appearance of one of these arbitrary assignments as it surfaced. Rather than repressing it and the scary feelings accompanying it, I entertained it momentarily before it disappeared. It grabbed the tissues of the moment I inhabited and the body I inhabit. It seemed real. With its sharp claws it tugged at and stretched the membrane of the living moment encapsulating me…until…poof!
By the time I noticed exhaling, it was gone, Merry Christmas, and another assignment had arrived.
Dandayamna Bharmanasana. Don’t hold your breath.