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Category: This-That (page 2 of 232)

life reveals itself

Windows Blinds

Ever so often I fall into a pattern that makes me stop and wonder. (Ponder?)

A few years ago I was set in my yoga practice. I had found a teacher and class I really enjoyed, and I went regularly. I felt that my understanding of Hatha Yoga was expanding, and so was my level of body awareness. It was exhilarating in so many ways, just like yoga classes mostly are.

Then things began to change. Perhaps this was the beginning of my “hermit” phase when I weaned off many social and group activities. I stopped going to class—maybe the teacher was gone for a bit, too? I cannot recall exactly but I began to practise at home instead, and it was really enjoyable. The pace was my own, and so was the sequence of asanas. I could change things up as I went along; I could play music if I wished; I could rest as long as I wanted, and I could end with seated meditation. Of course, these solo practice sessions weren’t as energetic as an in-class one but I found that my experience of Hatha Yoga ran deeper, and it also felt that the asanas revealed their nuances to me over time.

I sometimes wondered if I was merely being my “lazy” self who preferred to hang out at home instead of going to class. But I also knew that that was not the truth—I simply preferred to “fly solo” sometimes.

Fast forward a couple of years… I found myself at a yoga class, and it was a fun experience. Perhaps the years of solo practice had prepped me nice and proper, and I was able to experience more depths (and heights, bends, curves, etc.) in the class. I became a regular, going thrice a week.

Then India trips happened (Nov-Dec, Apr-May), so I couldn’t go to class any more, and I was back to practising on my own… and once again, I experienced the joy of deep, introspective, solo Hatha yoga practice.

And then I found myself at the same spot again… so comfortable in my home practice, so reluctant to go to class.

It’s so funny, I know! A group class takes me “far” but solo practice takes me “deep.” I wondered if the India trips had thrown me off-routine, and that’s why it was a challenge getting back. Now I wonder if it’s something else.

Perhaps Life reveals itself to us as we are. Perhaps it is reflecting to us what we are. Perhaps it isn’t us that’s responding to Life but Life that is responding to us. Perhaps it was my own strong wish for solitude that manifested in a series of events that made it simply hard to go to a class. Previously I thought “Life is the way it is, hence I am the way I am.” Now I wonder if I have been thinking in reverse all this while.

unique beauty

Guruvayur Temple, Kerala

There is a woman I follow on Instagram, and let’s just say that she is a lot of things I am not, physically speaking. She is petite, curly-haired, plumpish, chubby faced… cute as a button. So, I get “cute” a lot myself but she and I look nothing like each other. I find her very beautiful, so much so that I can scroll endlessly through her profile, leafing through her posts and pictures and videos. Also, she writes beautifully. (Beautifully different from my own writing which I find beautiful, too.)

All this to say that beauty (or our experience of it?) is a singular and unique experience, beyond any kind of comparison and/or competition. My mother is beautiful as she uniquely is, and there isn’t a question of if/how she is more (or less) beautiful than anyone else. I am beautiful in a way that only I can be, and it has nought to do with how my looks fare on any scale, Indian or international or whatever.

And this is likely why I find my friends so beautiful, each one looking wholly different from the other. Reminded of something an Art of Living teacher once said, “Praise is unqualified.” I didn’t get it at that time, and maybe I am still unclear about the true import of that statement… and yet, I wonder if the sentiment may not be extended to “Beauty is unqualified.”

And if we were to extend the idea even further, it makes sense that our experience of ANYTHING is absolutely and utterly unique, beyond comparison to anything else. Radical, no?

patterns

Just a thought… perhaps, maybe, think about it. If we disbelieve in patterns, do they cease to exist?

So, this notion of “this way,” or this kind of habit, or this type of feeling, or “I am like this,” or “I am this personality,” and so on… Now, instead of tracing said “object” backward and forward in time and making it into a trend or pattern or personality trait, whatever… if, instead we saw it as a unique instance (instant?), then this supposed pattern would be just that, a solo point. What we call a “pattern” would simply disappear because… there isn’t one! For, each instance is unique in time, and there is nothing truly in common between the various instances, ergo, no pattern or programming.

So also, no “me,” I think? Because “me” is also a pattern.

(Trust me to come up with pretty language.)

And that’s why

Recently I found myself saying, “…and that’s why I Ieft that class.” Next instant I wondered, is that true? Is that truly why I left? Could I ever say with complete certainty that THAT is the reason?

No, not really. All I can say with certainty is that I stopped going to the class. As for the reason why (assuming there is one), I cannot really say what that is.

I will be the first to admit that I am not what you’d call a reasonable person. Not that I am unreasonable but I hardly ever use reason to decide on a course of action. Perhaps I employ reason to plan a course of action but even that’s largely suspect, truth be told. And I know that this kind of “unreasonable” behavior is sometimes aggravating to my loved ones. (Not my parents, I think… I suspect they are of similar orientation.)

I found this scrawled in an old notebook. “What is ‘too soon’ or ‘too late?’ Who is to know? Our perspective of time is so limited—we can never comment on whether an event happened before or after time. All we can be sure of is that happened when it had to.”

Now, the rumination above pertains to the timing of events but I can see that it applies to their cause, too. Truly, we can never know the why. Yes, we are highly skilled at constructing the why, and we have elevated that skill to a science. Yet I wonder if we may be better served by dumping all construction and reconstruction efforts, by being “unreasonable,” by being with what is, sans reason or explanation or justification… not to anyone else, not to our own self.