Friday, May 23, 2014

Requiem: Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day Schedule:  Monday 9 am All Levels Class with Shri (530 pm class cancelled)

Requiem:  a token or act done in remembrance

Connection without clinging
Devoted without desperation
Knee deep in love without neediness

One of my friends and I have been talking recently about non attachment.  It is perhaps one of the most difficult Yogic concepts to understand and one that is often argued over (debated really) in Yoga teacher training discussions, particularly in regards to the practice of non attachment in relationships.
The 2 wings of the Yogi are Abhyasa- Practice and Vairagya- Non Attachment.  These are the core principles on which the entire system of Yoga rests.  Abhyasa is the persistent effort to quiet the mind and remember who we are.  To become well established this needs to be done for a long time, without a break, and in all earnestness.  Vairagya is learning to let go of the many attachments, aversions, fears, and false identities that are clouding the true Self.  They work together- practice leads one in the right direction and non attachment allows us to continue the inner journey without getting sidetracked.
I just returned from a weekend retreat at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA to study with one of my favorite teachers Rolf Sovik.  Rolf says the path of non attachment is really the path and practice of moving toward balance.  Being assertive for example is the balance between passivity and aggression.  And ultimately non attachment matures into performing right action without being so concerned with the results of the action- learning to sweep the floor to sweep the floor rather than to clean the floor.  (I know it's a lot to chew on.). The more we practice (Abhyasa) the more we become self actualized- we rest in our own true nature more easily and stop looking on the outside to attachments and false identities for validation of our sense of "I -ness".  We are delivered to an understanding that searching for anything on the outside - love, approval, validation, connection, security, peace- is never completely successful until we find it on the inside first. (But many souls will need many lifetimes to exhaust the outside search effort before doing the spiritual about face.)
This Universe is built on a foundation of polar opposites- the dvandvas.  This is the basis for the concept of Yin and Yang in Taoism and Shiva Shakti in Tantra.  Though the Yoga Sutra tells us that the possibility is there for "the pairs of opposites to cease to have impact"- for most of us, life on planet Earth is a journey through the pairs of polar opposites- hot and cold, good and bad, success and failure, pleasure and pain, etc.  We exist in a realm of opposites and there is a little of one polar opposite in it's opposite- there is some good in bad, some bad in good, some movement in stillness, some stillness in movement.  Have you ever touched something so hot it's almost cold or had your feet get so cold playing in the snow that they are almost hot?  I have.  I also know that there is some joy in grief and some grief in joy.  And there is a fine line between loving someone and desperately needing them.  Yet, I know that if we cannot truly experience sorrow or grief, then we also cannot experience joy or ecstasy.  The pairs of opposites come in pairs for a reason and this framework is a necessary part of the human experience.   The symbol for Judaism (and part of the heart chakra symbol) is 2 intersecting triangles - part of each one is in the other.  There is individual soul and cosmic soul- part of us is in the divine and part of the divine is in us.  It is what we are here to remember.
Perhaps the most pervasive attachment is that of our relationship with our own bodies.  The practice of non attachment in the grand scheme is practice for the death transition- the big letting go.  They say deaths come in 3's.  I experienced my 3 deaths recently.  On this Memorial Day I remember and honor those I have loved and lost.  Thank you for your gift to me.
I am not this body.