Prana Shakti, Partnership, Pregnancy, Parenthood, Preparation, Power and Pranams.
My personal Path of Practice:
Prana Shakti (the creative & pulsating life force within me), Partnership (a love story of two people who consciously choose one another every day), Pregnancy (Grace in my belly revealing herself through this growing baby boy who lives in my womb), Parenthood (The highest calling of them all), Purification (of all self-defining labels accumulated along the way) Preparation (for a new life, a new calling and for the birthing of all this woman has yet to become, experience, learn and know), Power (to fully stand in mine as a wife, mother and creative woman) Pranams (daily gratitude and humble thanks for my beautiful life and blessings along the way).
Monday, March 19, 2012
Back in 2007, I took a vow of silence and entered into Goenka-ji's lineage of Vipassana Meditation. The course is a commitment. One takes a vow of silence in body, speech and mind for a solid 10 days, turning in all reading and writing materials as well as every piece of technology they might have shown up with. As if this were not intense enough, one also commits to cease, for the entire 10 days, any and all other forms of spiritual practice/prayer/meditation in all forms. While it's compatible, students are even asked to cease yoga asana, in an effort to still the mind and to be able to give full attention and full credit to the tradition of meditation at hand. Furthermore, one is asked to commit to the cessation of all physical forms of activity including but not limited to any and all exercise (walking is allowed) and all expressions of "self-pleasure".
It sounds militant perhaps but each person who shows up knows what is expected of them so the choice is theirs. A final commitment is asked on the evening post dinner, just before we "vow in" and make our first step into the mediation hall. The final commitment is that we do not, absolutely under no circumstances, leave the 10 day course in the middle of it for any reason. When I went, there were at least 2 people that I know of that couldn't handle it and were taken through a very slow exit process so that everyone was ensured that all mental, emotional and psychological windows that had opened up, could be properly "secured" before letting these individuals roam free in the world again.
It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I would certainly say that one has to be in the right place and right frame of mind in their life to be able to commit to such a thing of course. More so, one needs to be willing and able to have a long, cold and very quiet look at themselves in the mirror. For this reason, there is somewhat of a screening to make sure people who are depressed or have any kind of mental disordered not attend. While the external circumstances are extremely quiet, meditating for eleven hours a day (Yes, eleven.), for 10 days straight, can seem pretty damn loud in one's thinker if you know I mean.
Since having attended and learned this particular style of meditation (we spent the first 3 days preparing for the meditation with a different one mind you) as it was intended in it's original form and lineage (there are other ones out there that claim to be the same but lack the around the clock complete vow of silence which dilutes the teachings at best according to their origin and Goenka-ji himself), I have sent a few student-friends who inquired to experience it themselves. Because of how the teachings are passed on, my interests are not in trying to share what I learned through such in depth time, study and of course, application of practice then and since then, but I will share a few morsels of what I picked up from that time that have a direct impact of my life, more so now than ever before.
Every evening there was a "teacher's discourse" where the facilitator, one of Goenka's long time students, would play recordings of his and his teachings for us to apply over the next 24 hours. Even so, there were few words, very little talking or even instruction and hours and hours of time to "practice".
I can still hear the sound of his voice as he would so smoothly repeat, "Anicca...Anicca...Changing...Changing..."
This made such an impact on me during the course that I tattooed a reminder on my wrist.
One of the many languages of the Buddha was Pali. The course, for the most part, is in Pali. Anicca translates as "changing" much like Anitya in Sanskrit translates as "impermanence". For me, Anicca is my life's reminder that it's all changing. Be present, right now. The time IS Now. Nothing stays the same forever. It's sort of the proverbial string around the finger when I think about it that is always there whispering "remember...".
So many things are changing in my life right now. I have feelings about them but mostly I'm more in the seat of observation that ever before. Something happens when there's a deep knowing that it's time for change and/or that it's necessary. As I enter into my last week of regularly schedule public classes (see the previous post) so that I can take some much needed personal time over the next few months, I know that never again will my life as I have known and experienced it be the same. While tendency can be to put meaning of "good" or "bad" to such a thing, it's nowhere on my radar to do so, but there IS reflection.
I moved back to Austin in 2007 with a fire under my butt to make this work. I was committed to teaching yoga and to do so for a living, to become debt-free and to be able to have and do the things I wanted in life-travel the world on behalf of my "job" in particular. As life would have it, I did just that. By many standards (most importantly, personal ones), I created, from nothing but a dedicated heart, a successful career for myself. As a teacher-friend of mine once said about the upside to what we do, I was able to "live a rich man's lifestyle in traveling the world, making my own schedule and calling the shots" for the most part. I came here to do something, worked hard and accomplished pretty much all that I set out to do. Over the years there were re-evaluations of what it was that I thought I wanted or what I thought was important but at the end of the day, what truly mattered was accomplished and anything I can think of that was not, was all egocentric and meaningless when it comes to down to it anyway.
Knowing this, I let go.
I say "thank you".
And I rest.
Reflection is required for me to take a few deep breaths so that over the next few months I can sit in front of the alter of possibility that is the blank canvas of my life. Pictures are already being painted on this canvas and they include my new husband and our new home we are about to close on and move into; the very home I intend to give birth to child in and the very home a family will grow roots in. The details have yet to be filled in just as the colors of my reinvention have yet to reveal themselves but all in good time.
It's all changing.
As a long time student of yoga and a student first and foremost long before and long after being a teacher, I am reminded that there is more.
As I enter into my third trimester of pregnancy and begin to quiet the external dialog and open doors that have remained unopened into the invisible landscape of all that's true and possible in the sea of the illusions of thoughts, self-definitions, labels, new inspirations and aspirations and so much more, there's a little bit of uncertainty but for the first time ever, I'm without a sense of clinging or attachment.
"Anicca. Anicca. Changing. Changing."
Every part of me is in expansion right now...
It's all new each day. I had incredible energy in my second trimester and I feel the shifts as I find myself closer and closer to birthing this baby but more than anything else, I just want to stop the external dialog and use other, more creative ways to express what I'm processing right now. There is a relief and a deep sense accomplishment almost in honoring this instinctual desire to take some personal time, retain some of the energy that I'm so use to giving and slow down a little bit now.
I'm excited about motherhood.
I'm excited to see my husband become, and grow as, a father.
I'm excited about recreating myself.
I'm excited about re-evaluating what's important and I want/need to be the best ME for myself and my family.
I'm excited to show up to my gifts, talents and creative juices in a new form with new and growing inspirations.
I'm excited about new direction, inspiration and purpose.
I'm excited that it's all changing. I'm just deeply reflective right now and growing more and more quiet at time goes on...and that's a good thing.