Can you feel the sunbeams growing stronger? It's still cold and wintery here in Melbourne, but I can feel the sun's intensity slowly rising. My daily suryanamaskaras are a meditation on the sun and it's life giving energy. It stirs something inside me. A few sunnier days turn me (a sunflower) towards the light and it seeps in through my squinty lashes. My winter vegetables seem also to be stirred inside, looking suddenly robust. And I swear the grass is standing prouder, more tufty.   

I find that practicing yoga draws me simultaneously into and outside of myself. I'm not talking about just one day practicing yoga on the mat. I'm talking about what is now nearly two decades of earnestly attempting to live yoga. Sustaining my sadhana over this period of time has required me to learn to be with myself and all sorts of internally arising sensations and challenges. It has also, required me to learn to sit comfortably with life...which appears to offer an endless parade of externally arising experiences and challenges (and thank goodness for that, as this is how I grow and evolve). Practicing yoga, long term, offers me a meditative repose, from which I observe what arises both internally and externally. After some time, as my vision grows clearer, I not only see what arises, but also I see my mind do it's seductive, reactive thing...demanding centre stage, persuading me to believe that EVERYTHING is a big deal (maybe even the end of the world).  Without my yoga practice, I fear I would be only a mind, gesticulating and dancing a terrified, electric and anxious dance. Through yoga, I have come to know myself as more than a mind. I am a being of the earth, a receiver of sunlight and moonbeams, one who rides a planet, orbiting a star, in the company of other beings, (some of whom, like me, turn like sunflowers toward the sun-starlight). There is peace, connectedness and sanctuary in knowing oneself to be vast. Mind is beautiful, important, and necessary, but it is not the home of my experience. It is only one of it's inhabitants.  

We live in a vast universe, populated by stars, galaxies, planets. We are under the influence of stars. Our planet is slowly turning its Southern sunflower face towards the sun. We begin to stir and awaken from our wintery slumber. Our stiff bodies will begin to thaw, energy moving in our joints more freely. 

See you in the morning, Sunflower.  

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