Thoughts on non-attachment, equilibrium during suffering, and practice.
Wow, what a title for a post. I admit, these are completely unenlightened thoughts, mundane thoughts, thoughts from a complete amateur… Nothing profound. Ram Dass said, after his stroke, “there is still so much work to do. I feel so far away from God.” Amen.
It has been a tough couple of weeks. Household (myself included) ill. Family member deaths, death of childhood friends, no sleep, physical body not co-operating, among the continuous, constant ever changing “regular” world of shifting friendships, relationships, family, work, cosmic planetary cycles, expectations from Self and others, etc.
Yet there is still so much that is incredible. Music, sun, love, yoga, wonderful people, friendships, joy, healthy grieving, and a new appreciation for life and love of family and friends.
It is SO easy to be calm and collected when our world is working; when things are simple and easy and physical and mental health are good. It is not so easy when the world starts to spin in such ways as above, when emotional and mental chaos seem to be at the forefront. How does the yoga practice, the thing I spend many hours of my week engaging in to relieve suffering, show up in these times? The simplest word I can think of is AWARENESS. I am the witness, I am aware of the happenings, instead of being caught in the whirlwind. Letting go of control seems to be necessary. As it always is. But it is more so during the tougher times; letting go is MORE essential than ever, as attaching and holding on just makes everything feel worse and creates more suffering.
It is interesting how difficult the smallest things seem when one is grieving- eating, dishes, showering, taxes, getting coffee, walking the dog, yoga practice… none of it seems relevant when loss of a loved one or physical illness are the main focus. But again, these things are actually MORE important to engage in, to keep life moving forward, while embracing the emotions, so as not to squash them down to make way for future suffering. As Patanjali says, in the Yoga Sutras chapter 2, aptly titled “Practice”, “Suffering that is yet to be manifested is to be avoided.” If we don’t allow what is happening NOW to occur and bear fruit, we are already attaching to future suffering.
I am so thankful this is called a practice. We are not expected to achieve perfection in being calm. We are not asked to be 100% on all of the time. We are only asked to accept, receive, witness, be conscious and take tiny steps forward on this path carved out for us by many other seekers past. I learn from those seekers every single day. I learn from watching others grieve, from noticing how I react to suffering and chaos, and from taking step and a million breaths forward on each new day.