Today, I taught my last yoga class for the summer at Yoga on Main in Manayunk, PA, where I’ve taught a weekly class on Thursdays for a number of years. It was a particularly sweet class, well attended (for a Thursday morning) with two of my regulars, one new person, and two women who came “to hear me talk.” It’s a beautiful thing whenever, as the Bible says, “two or more are gathered” in the name, the search for the truth. I always open class with a silent meditation followed by a brief open eyed meditation, “gazing” with each person for less than a minute, meeting them gaze to gaze, Being to Being. And then I give a short talk, just whatever’s been up for me recently that in some way illustrates the nature of Being. Today it was the intersection of a few threads that came together in a recent experience that I referred to as the day of no.
For me, this day of no manifested itself in a jarring realization that the way I perceive myself is not always the way I am perceived by others. As it happened in the personal and professional spheres at the same time, it felt like quite a combination punch. A regular one-two to the psyche. It felt like hell. It felt like the way I know myself was so out of kilter with the way I was being perceived, or the way I was being perceived somehow missed the core of who I am. I don’t mind telling you that it knocked the stuffing out of me and laid me low.
One of the women at class this morning, Julie, had some good questions about this. “What do you do when that happens?” The beautiful thing about this sort of experience, for me, is that I no longer resist it. Even though I felt contracted around the experiences, I didn’t try use the contraction as a way to muscle through it. I just let it be there. It was a soggy day out side, and I let the sogginess infiltrate to the inside of my Being. I stayed in my pajamas. I sighed. I said out loud, “I feel like shit.” I was aware in this feeling state that there was something to be learned. Whenever there is dissonance of this degree, Being is really trying to get my attention.
I thought back to the experience I had over the weekend at the Transitions and Transactions conference about my name. And I got that this self perception is always just that, a perception. I can continue to refine it, to hone it more and more close to the Truth, and yet, because I am in this embodied form, this physical entity with her various, numerous names, no matter what I call myself, I am essentially nameless: the way that can be named is not the true Way. My teacher, Allan Morelock (read his two beautiful books, Nothing Other, and Raindrops Falling on the Ocean) has said “personality is impersonal.” And that, I know, is the truth.
Julie’s other question was about decisions, and this is one that can take a very long time to parse out, but still I was delighted by her asking it. For me, there is only Being. Being is writing itself in and as and through me as My Life. There’s never really a time when I decide to do something. I just do things. It sometimes feels like there is a decision, or a choice, but really, where does that choice come from? Whether I sit around until I move toward food, sleep, drink, reading, walking the dog, or whether I respond to an invitation with a yes or a no, or whether I decide to go out or stay home, there’s a way in which it’s all the same. Sometimes what we appear to “choose” to do appears to work out well and feels good, and sometimes what we appear to choose to do works out badly and feels bad. Sometimes it’s neutral. But good, bad or indifferent; intentional, unintentional or accidental, it’s still Being that’s making it happen.
The Trillium Awakening teacher Rod Taylor told me once that all the stuff we feel like we keep hitting our head against is just Being showing us the core wound. In Trillium Awakening, the core wound is a way of speaking about the edge between our finite and infinite nature, a place we’re always rubbing up against. We’re infinite: everything is occurring in consciousness, there’s no separation, no other, and at the same time, we’re in these finite, limited bodies with their complex layers of differentiation, their needs, wants, dislikes, stories, patterns and conditions.
You can always count on Being to show you where you still have something to learn. Sometimes life is like a rock tumbler, just knocking off the rough edges to polish you to your true shine. The best and truest way to live is to just let come what may. Rumi says:
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
You don’t have to love them. Welcoming awareness can be anything from a simple act of reception to a deep bow of surrender. Doing and Being are but two sides of the mobius strip of experience. The more we come to trust in Being, to get out of its way, the more easefully we can ride that edge and fall, finally, our true home.