I want to set humanity ablaze with how much spirit is possible for one vessel called the body to contain.
The process of awakening that the system called Ashtanga Yoga facilitates is a system that purifies this vessel; and today, as I re-commit to consistent, daily practice, I am coming to terms with just how dis-engaged and in bondage to self I truly was.
Over the last year, practice became a chore. It weighed on me. I felt only a dull, heavy pain where there once was clarity and joy. I grieved the loss of the only friend who could hold me in my darkest moments and hated myself for losing her grasp as I slipped into the void.
Dread consumed me. The thought of beginning my day at 6 a.m. in Samastihi for the rest of my life overwhelmed me. My practice was a torturous flat line that my thoughts could not bounce back from. Somewhere along the way I fell asleep in despair.
The great paradox that is the human experience is precisely this: Awakening is possible only in our deepest hours of slumber. Inspiration is being churned over in the subconscious mind even when we feel like we are trudging through mud in our conscious state. The practice of Ashtanga Yoga is an acknowledgement of a life-current already flowing inside me. This is the grace that I effect a contact with as I begin my morning at the top of my mat. And as I lift my arms above me, ekam, inhale, and fold forward, dve, exhale, I am acknowledging this grace and inviting it to express itself through me. I offer my body as a temple for grace and lift her up on an altar that is the heart consumed with devotion. I merge into Source.
My discontentment with my practice was really my discontentment with a life designed perfectly by my Maker’s hand.
And I don’t want to be discontent any longer. I don’t want to be afraid of the power burning inside me. I don’t want to sleep through the dawn. I don’t want to whisper into an iron cage; I want to fan the edges of an open flame. Or as Pablo Neruda writes,
¨I don’t want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in and thinking, eating every day…”
I want to burrow into the Self and untangle her roots from my grasping. I want to seduce her edges to grow deeper and deeper until they touch the un-tilled soil that is the earthy breath not yet dreamt by God.
I want to hold the world’s eye even when it is afraid to look back; I want to coax it into trusting my gaze with the seduction of a spirit rooted in humanity.
I want to carve a looking-glass into my chest and invite the world to stare in.
Do you see past the rugged scars of a girl burning up in her own fire?
Do you not see the crying tides howling out ¨you cannot, you cannot, you cannot¨ part for the one who walks to meet her Maker?
Do you see the girl who built ladders upon the shoulders of lowly men, men who considered dreams of heights to be more terrifying than the monotonous nightmare that is mediocrity?
Do you see her upturned gaze?
Do you see the downtrodden tramp who refused tragedy as her master and accepted greatness as her equal?
Do you see the girl who lifted her humanity up as an offering to her Creator and begged Him to mold it as He saw fit?
Can you see into the gaze that holds these secrets? Will you look back?