learning stillness

Practicing every day

Finding God in the Details

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My senses, my thoughts, my focus perpetually going out, getting lost and absorbed by the world that surrounds me, busy with it’s bright lights and attractive distractions. Lost.

My mind churns; searching like a dolphin in the murky depths, sending out sonar waves. I am always searching for something, anything, to reassure me that I am not alone in the vast ocean.

When I was little I used to get lost in department stores on purpose. Slipping under the clothing that hung on round racks in the ladies apparel section, I was off on an adventure to explore their secret inner sanctums. I would make my way into the center, pushing past the wall of fabric, and find myself held softly on all sides in a little round patch of light at the center. It was perfect. A quiet, soft space where I could just be.

I have heard me teacher say, “Ashtanga is an inherently dynamic practice” many times before. I think I finally understand what he means and why I am studying this dynamism with such care. As I go deeper I realize that this rabbit’s hole is never-ending. Clarifying the vinyasa positions, memorizing with my very muscles, bones and connective tissue the state of the asana, landing directly in “that immovable spot,” learning to let my breath be my guide, to redirect the flow of energy within, and focusing my gaze.

I am starting to see the inner world, catching elusive glimpses of the multitudes within me.

Dynamism. A sort of friction created through opposite actions. Movement and vigor followed by near-perfect stillness, reaching up and out while grounding down into the earth. Effort coupled with ease. One pushes against the other and creates heat. Friction leads to focus. Focus creates awareness. Awareness leads to receptivity. Through receptivity action begins, slowly but surely, to become spontaneous. As I empty out, I can feel it: I am never alone. How could I be? The practice becomes my song, and I sing for myself. I am the performer, yes, but I am also the audience. Complete. I am learning to appreciate and enjoy myself.

The structure of this practice once seemed intimidating, overwhelming, and maybe even a little pointless. Limiting in its specificity and repetition. But it is in these layers and layers of details, of repetition and specificity, that I am finding a way to burn off the layers and layers of dead skin that surround me and keep me from finding my way inside. Into myself. It is in these details that I am finding God.


Author: learningstillness

I am a student of Ashtanga Yoga, a teacher, a wife, dog owner and writer I am learning to see things, myself included, with new perspective, greater curiousity and I am searching for stillness so that I can hear more clearly.

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