“What's encouraging about meditation is that even if we shut down, we can no longer shut down in ignorance. We see very clearly that we're closing off. That in itself begins to illuminate the darkness of ignorance.”
-Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart
Sometimes immersing myself in a yoga practice quenches the dearth and the immediate thirst for spirituality. But it always poses a real challenge. And instead of filling that void, I avoid it. I often reject the imposed stillness, abandon meditation and introspection and am then left utterly perplexed by my ineptitude, trapped in a tormented tempest of mindless mind banter. I'm stuck in the same pose and stuck in my head. And there is, at the very same time, a fear and a hope that I will become "un-stuck."
At Anya, I've learned, there is a fundamental push and pull flow and philosophy that underlies the curriculum of movement. Isolation and integration, inhale and exhale, East and West. We could say this philosophy of polarities is, in a way, analogous to Pema Chodron's Buddhist wisdom regarding meditation and the human instinct to embrace or abandon, indulge or repress, that autonomic flight or fight response: Fear and Hope. We so often run from our fears whether physical, emotional or spiritual. So, how do we inform our impulses? How do we propel forward? And confront the challenge? Remain hopeful even in the face of fear? How do we "un-stick" ourselves?
At my very first Anya class, I was overwhelmed by the new vernacular. My normal impulse would be to shut down, superficially follow the instructions and mimic movements mindlessly. But I realized quickly that it was impossible here to engage my body without first setting an intention and focusing in my mind. My mind may reject stillness, but it thrives on active, focused awareness. The first few faculties which are the core precepts of the AUM Curriculum, once esoteric concepts, became more clear and concrete as, together, my mind and body began to slowly understand the reason for the movements, and relish in them! Enliven, Ground, Stabilize, Empty, Organize, Frame....I have so much yet to learn and explore. But I am full of hope, attention and intention (love), if still a bit of fear. I left Anya feeling lithe and light...the lightness palpable in both mind and body. The more focused my mind, the freer it became.
F.urther R.eflection E.ncourages E.nlightenment.