One of the most important things I’ve learned from studying with my teacher is the importance of imagery in practice. Which has gotten me thinking: if, as Guruji famously said, your “whole life is practice”, then I need to start cultivating images to support me beyond the asana. This year has been a big one. Many, many changes and challenges and opportunities. It’s hard not to feel storm tossed sometimes. So the other night, when I was having one of those moments when you’re afraid and you don’t know what of (Holly Golightly called it the “mean reds”) I wrote wrote this to myself. It helps, somehow, so I thought I’d share it…
Why do you fear the storm raging around you. The waves may break and pull at your shore line, churning the very floor of the sea. The vast ocean surrounding will drag debris onto your shore, leaving a pile of the things you though were long ago drowned and dead at your feet. The sky is dark, I know. The wind is fierce, stinging your cheeks and burning your eyes The rain comes in torrents and it is hard to see; harder still to hope. Do not fear the flashes of lightning and the deafening claps of thunder. Do not despair as all of your carefully constructed defenses fail you, one by one.
But you are a lighthouse. You were made to withstand this. Shine your light and do not doubt that what you have to give is important. These things that are outside of you? They have always been out of your hands; you only tricked yourself into thinking you had control over them. Do not be afraid. You will be here when the storm ends. Your exterior will be little worse for the wear, maybe. Some work will be required to sure your foundations. Yet understand that your light is not dimmed.
Your light cannot be dimmed. It is the essence of you, and the reason for you. And remember, when it seems to be too hard and dark and frightening, that you chose to build your home out here. You knowingly set yourself on this edge, where the elements sometime rage unchecked. Remember that you chose this place for a reason. There is work to be done here. Your work. So continue on.