Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Brilliant Art of the Nothing...

In the middle of a great moment of discovery, energy-exuding determination and the uncovering bliss of life revealing itself, sometimes it is difficult to submit to the act of surrender and rest, when rest is called to come upon us.

I am observing this with my children, especially with my youngest who turns 8 months tomorrow -
(already!). Though it is obvious that his eyes have become droopy, and he no longer wishes to crawl, but to be carried everywhere as the hours have passed and nap-time is neigh...he still wishes to continue the quest for discovery and has difficulty submitting to nap-time, even when a nap is exactly what is called for to bring this sweet boy back to a level playing field with the where he can interact with balance and peace.  How much the same are we?!

In this world of constant change and ever unfolding information, questioning, opportunity and discovery, it seems we hardly make time to REALLY rest.  It is as though we have been convinced that we are lazy if we take more time than a "regular" night of sleep to stop all the action and sink into the nothingness of all that is.  What a fallacy and an unfortunate musing we have embraced as the measurement of our worth...that we must "produce" and "act" continuously in order to be of order to be a valuable member of society.

We, as a culture and a world, do not value the importance of rest, surrender, stillness, stopping, contemplation and meditation as the bigger part of life - instead, these activities, or rather "lack of activity" are reserved for few moments during the day or when the body can simply take us no further and we have no choice but to slow down and rest.  The whole concept of the 2 week vacation once a year pretty much sums it up - work is thousands of times "more important" than relaxation...?! At least that is the model we are given.  Sometimes it even takes illness before someone will slow down and take a much needed extra few hours (or weeks) of sleep or simply time to "do nothing" but integrate a world that is ever forcing us to morph, adapt and change.

In yoga, the most important and powerful pose is called Shivasana - corpse pose.  It is the pose where you appear to be doing nothing, but acting "dead"...lying perfectly still, for several minutes - or longer if you can handle it.  It is amazing, in all my years as a yoga instructor, observing people in this pose, to note how difficult it is for people to lay motionless and supposedly "do nothing."

It has become a well known fact that the largest portion of our consciousness - encompassing the subconscious and unconscious minds - lays largely in the quiet, "inaccessible"(to most people) areas of the brain/mind.  Our conscious, "working" mind - if you will - is using but a small 5-10% of our brain capacity and even in science we have discovered that only 5-10% of the universe is "known"...the rest being largely dark matter...indescribable and largely incomprehensible.

What a metaphor.  That which is unknown makes up the largest parts of life...and yet we continue to perpetuate the focus on the "known" - the "aware"...the "action"...paying little attention and even resisting those times and places where we could potentially access the deepest and most profound insights and layers of our being...those we find in stillness, in meditation, in surrender.

As my child cries himself to sleep...but then wakes again refreshed and renewed, I am reminded that even those things we resist and are uncomfortable, even the times we think we should "press on" but there is just no pressing left in us...if we but surrender to the nap, the shivasana, the meditation, the daydreams....even BEFORE we are so worn out and past motivation to try another thing...

If we take time EVERY DAY...maybe even several times a day - -(my baby naps 3 times a day) - - could this silent time, this STILL time, be even more important to our nourishment than the food we regularly consume at least the prescribed three times?   I believe so.

The more I delve into the realm of Yoga Nidra and the regeneration, insights and inspiration to be had while seemingly "doing nothing" the more I am beginning to realize there is more to the stillness than I have even known since my journey guided me toward meditation and yoga as a regular practice.

Yes, still, the STILL places are begging us to meet ourselves there.  In the quiet, in the nap, in the day dream and in the seeming "nothingness" we have an opportunity to not only revive those active parts of ourselves that we wish to re-engage into the world at large  - as motion, "accomplishment" and ventures of a worthy (or unworthy-ish) cause...but we have the potential to reap far greater rewards than we have yet attempted to find....greater treasures, I dare say, than we have imagined lay in waiting for us.

As I remember the Swamis from my time at yoga school and especially Swami Satyananda Saraswati who no longer did much else besides meditate and practice breathing...I wondered, I wonder - what such dedication to the inner realm might offer this world of form.?

I know that the longer my child naps, the greater his accomplishments in the waking...really.  It is like a major integration takes place there in those hours of restful sleep.  For us, sleep may not be enough.

Over the years, we as adults, have learned to "sleep" but not fully rest.  It is in restful, rejuvenating sleep that we are most blessed...and even more so when we meditate or practice the conscious practice of Yoga Nidra - - sleep while aware.  I do know, that as I have practiced more regularly, the Yoga Nidra - day after day - that my world is starting to open up in previously unknown ways.

We think our actions reap us the greatest benefits...but what if we have it backwards?

I'm not saying we should spend all of our time doing "nothing" and meditate all day rather than work or engage life...but a balance could be struck that is far from being reached least for me and those I know.  What if we each added 20 minutes 3 times per day to simply concentrate on the inner realm? To sit in stillness and allow life to teach us?  I am quite sure that the unspoken realms have more wisdom than the entire World Wide Web...for the information comes from beyond human understanding.

As I watch what children do...what my children do...the natural way in which "growing" takes place and the way surrender plays into the development of each of us, I am more and more sure that there is less I can learn by "trying" and more I can learn by observing life - feeling it - tasting it in my mind...the way an infant takes in the surroundings before all can be engaged.

What a miracle life is.

A flower reaches for the sun...or does the sun reach down and open the flower?

A reciprocal relationship no doubt.

Does the river run toward the ocean, or does the ocean call her home?

In surrender will I open anyway? Will I reach home within?  Or must I strive to find the path, strive to construct the way?  ...

I have a sneaking suspicion we are being led by a greater power than we can ourselves create...

I'm gonna dis-engage more into the Brilliant Art of the Nothing...

May you find Bliss in your House as I find it in and every day...inside and out!

Stasia Bliss

No comments:

Post a Comment