04.06 Dharma Talk : A Piece of Peace

Whatever way you have come to this place (room, mat, family, planet earth, pose) and however you are experiencing it is a just right way to experience it.  

I feel quite urgent at times about this class (Every Body class).  I see what it does to all of us individually and as a collective  when we are battered with judgements tell us we are too fat, to thin, to old, to young, too loud, to diminutive, we take up too much space, we don't advocate for ourselves adequately, we are too gay, too black, too other, to political, to complicit.  If any of this bullshit gets into our hearts, it makes a mess and it becomes hard to see ourselves.

These guidelines for our existence are very very narrow and make our lives impossibly small.  I find it heartbreaking to see anyone (including myself) buy into any of the above staements.

We cannot rely on our feelings to tell us how well things are going.  They are just not that reliable. They have been co-opted and manipulated by a great many outside forces.  There are times when it makes perfect sense to dive into those feelings and give them space to express.  But here, in our yoga class we are doing something else.  We are showing up, being here, breathing and existing.  We are doing this without the pressure of external or internal expectations.

We come here and peel off the layers of expectation, identity, shape, thoughts and just exist.  We do this because we deserve it.  

Have you ever seen a super relaxed baby?   A baby who hasn’t been told to be or do anything?  A young human who is just delighted to be exploring the world around them?  Think about watching a baby discover their body or their ability without disappointment or anxiety. I think that is the goal for this class - to reconnect with the feeling of being a happy baby - which we all were at some point.

I can say that personally, I find this difficult. I can’t remember myself as a contented and relaxed baby - instead I  feel certain that I was organizing people from the very beginning.   I just have to go on faith that I was a contented and relaxed baby for at least some period of time.

One day, I was in a humongous lake in North Carolina.  One of those lakes that are made by damming up a river, so it is crazy deep and still.  The surface of the lake was  near the peaks of the mountains. My family was riding around on a pontoon boat and I asked to be let off the boat.  I jumped off a boat, the boat sped away to do something fun and there I was in this lake at the top of the smokey mountains, all by myself. Floating.  Once the boat wake and engine hum left me, I could see the reflection of the mountain tops in the water.  

It. was. so. quiet.

It was a fantasy of stillness.  It was unbelievable.  It was beautiful. It was a moment I had wanted for most of my life.  It was terrifying. 

I was a total mess.  I couldn’t relax i couldn’t be quiet. I couldn’t decide if I should float or swim.

Sometimes the peace we seek is an experience we are not prepared for.  We need to build our ability to stay in these moments.  We need to become accustomed to leaving behind all of those judgements of ourselves and observe the naturally occurring peace within.

On your mat today, look for a space where you can withdraw the senses and go inward - find a piece of peace and stay there for as long as you can.