Feeling: MINDFUL – MENACING, BUT MENDING
In the Western world, we’ve taken just a small section of yoga; hour-long classes based on asana performance (think the warriors, triangle pose, maybe a wheel here and there), a bit of breath work and perhaps a touch of meditation. But the ancient sages and such who pioneered the practice had asana as only the first leg. You see, asanas (that being Sanskrit for “poses”) were devised as a way of getting the body and mind prepped to sit still for hours to attain what is termed “Samadhi”.
So samadhi. Enlightenment. Bliss. Attaining that higher state of consciousness, that absolute union with the universal truth. (I’ve got a post scheduled to perhaps elucidate on this a bit more after a couple of others). The elusive “they” say that such a feeling (feeling? Experience? No word seems to encompass what seems to be described) can be reached to a degree through consumption of alcohol or drugs, LSD in particular. A synthetic samadhi, if you like.
Think about it. That whole “letting go”. The lessening of worries, that sense of sky high confidence and invincibility. I mean, I’ve been there. That ersatz ecstasy that comes on when under the influence. But my all or nothing nature always comes into play and I tip over the edge. As I’ve gotten older, getting “annihilated” isn’t so hilarious anymore – when I picture my drunken self now, I see it as a touch tragic.
All aspects that make me up – both the good and not so good – magnify and are highlighted. I used to love that sense of loss of control and blissful “no stress mate” but now that thought terrifies me.
I don’t want to have to rely on an outer aid to reach my carefree condition. I want to find that elatedness everyday, with it coming from within.
With consistent yoga practice, one attains steadiness of both the body and mind. Freedom from disease (to a degree depending on regularity), lightness of limbs and a sense of self.
And as Eric Paskel said, “Yoga isn’t about tightening your ass. It’s about getting your head out of it”.
Because my head has been well up my anus.
Not in an arrogant way (well, not all the time). But in a self-obsessed, my-problems-are-the-only-ones-I-must-run-away-from way.
Because of that fucker called Ed.
Living with an eating disorder is exhausting. It gnaws at you day and night, clutching your consciousness as soon as you awake to the second you sink into siesta (and often during dreams too).
I’ve been bad at blocking it out the last ten months. After discharging myself from the clinic, all that openness went right back in. Sometimes it would bubble up, but I had this – rather dim witted – idea that I would get to India and it would all just dissipate “like last time”.
But it hasn’t.
Two weeks in and I’m struggling.
I remember now. My rose-shaded specs have been removed, and I recall the afternoons spent in angst and nights all nervous, taking into account calories and berating myself. And it’s happening here again.
But it’s a good struggle. It’s facing things, not forcing them down.
Yoga helps me. It makes me see my body as more than its size. In asanas, the only thing I think of my legs is whether they are aligned or how to best bend to balance. And the silence to achieve stillness lends time for much inner introspection.
I explore my personal and somewhat self created nature. With Ed, although I believe a good portion is external in influence, a significant section has been somewhat self allowed. My corrosive insecurity, my reprimands; I’m trying to dismantle them and take control of washing out my ego and self-interest.
I want to achieve an intact sense of myself, peppered with small instances of insecurity – not dousing myself in pretty constant self doubt. It makes me laugh when people say they are envious of my self confidence; for the most part, it’s a bit of a facade. I mean, yes I am independent and confident in such a respect as going places alone, but belief in my talent and capabilities swells like a turbulent ocean beneath the exterior.
Another aim is trying to get my mind to sit still. Rest it. I want to put my feet up with nothing more serious to consider than what colour to paint my toenails. Because as of the last year, my monkey mind is immense.
The Pedaller is my peace. It took me a long time to admit that to myself; I never wanted to be one to rely on a person as my locale of calm and grounding. But he is the one thing that makes me put my diary away and just be. I put him above all on my to-do list, and being around him or talking to him sets me serene and steady. (Such a foreign feeling, I tell you that).
Another aspect going against how I go? Yoga is not achievement through force. It’s a progression through practice. It’s teaching me patience, doing things properly and step by step rather than chucking myself into a handstand all at once. It’s completely against how I approach my life and it’s giving me knowledge I need to heal myself.
I mean, there are factors I don’t follow. I am open to Indian ideas, and there is a fair lot of dawning, open-mouthed stupidity when what was once an abstract idea “clicks” and makes sense. But there’s also plenty a time my worldview and makeup has my eyebrows raised – skepticism and pragmatism are part of my Kiwi intellectual inheritance, and some tutelage results in my inner, “just, nah”. (Such as the story of the “holy cow” coming out of a turtle twisted with a snake being fought over by God and the devil). (But then again, I bet the Indian lads may very well scoff scoff at the idea of a baby being born through no intercourse in a stable with three men giving gifts).
But I’m definitely expanding my knowledge of life and myself.
Sorry. A bit of a deeper one if you’re still with me!
I have this little description that – to me – encompasses all I want to be.
You know how in the wind and rain, shop signs fall over and lay on their sides? Like talkers on the street? And often the shop keeper or business owner or whatever is unaware? I make a point to always pick them up. But my motivation isn’t pure; I do so for the feeling of knowing I’ve done a good deed.
But I want to pick them up for no reason other than for the person, not for myself.
I want to be the person who picks fallen over signs up in the storm selflessly – while not being heckled by Ed.
(And a quick PS: we went to pick up our washing – that being me and Danish Marie – and on walking in, we came across a grouping of teenage boys sorting through sheets. One was propped up on the bed, folding my undies. Very awkward to ask him if I could have them, I tell you. But they were so sassy, so contumelious of our want, it gave us the giggles. And one looked like an Indian version of Justin Bieber, would you believe!).
(I got my undies back by the way. But the washing was not a patch on Deb’s).
I’m not here to just get a bendier bod; mine is a higher purpose that is not just samadhi.