Years before I moved to L.A. my best friend went to college there. Every time I’d go to visit I’d arrive at her doorstep enamored with the acquiescent air and eyeful of flowers and say, why don’t I live here? Five days later I’d say, get me out of here. What seemed peaceful at first felt like inertia on second notice and suffocation in the end. It felt like so much sameness.
Distinction brings clarity. One cannot make sense of things without relationship. Einstein told it like it is; motion is relative and Richard Pryor translated that nicely; “I know something be happening because everything’s moving!” (Thanks drummer Ron and his tour bus driver for that one.)
Once you’re in the ether, you’re gone. The flat line doesn’t hold much interest for me. Give me the jagged peaks of the heart beat. Give me the calm and then the storm. Give me the ions in the after-burst. I want shadows in the light and black with my white. The cold plunge makes the hot day welcome as does the hot bath make friendly a winter’s night though in truth the most sensuous variations are more subtle than that. In yoga I dance with diversity.
A friend and I were talking about political factions as I told her about something I wrote that decries the Right Wing. She said there are no wings but diversions. She said “I think Buddhism gets it right by pointing out that any time we have a judgment about “other” it is not entirely the truth.” She said “they” only exists in our mind like the illusion of boundaries such as states, the horizon, even the temporary body we like to call “ours”. Well one thing is clear. It seems I am not a Buddhist. And on second thought another thing seems probable. If I will be, it will be when I’m headed out of this world and don’t need illusion as a touchstone.
What do I have but my mind and an agreement about what is truth and what is not? If there is no distinct boundary, if even my body is an illusion, if there is no this and that, what gives things shape? I need judgment and I need to work with this body cause that’s what I’ve got. How would I even recognize bliss if it’s not different than the thing that came before it?
The moment of simplicity in a yoga pose is distinct from the action, reaction and action that got me here. I love that moment that’s all the more dear as I can’t stay there forever. That time will come someday but it’s not time yet. Whether strong or soft, the more I notice the differences moment to moment, the more involved I become. Whether the intention of the practice is to use this mind to put this body to ease with efficiency or to test my edges and push my limits, the learning is in noticing the changes.
Eden was boring. That’s why Eve ate that apple. She preferred Sturm and Drang to another same ole same ole with Adam. Eve would rather have learned the forced death of a broken heart so appealing to the Victorians to another walk in the perfect garden. That snake whispered that she’d better do something radical to rock her life. Eve needed some friction to enjoy her humanness.
The moment so clear between the inhale and the exhale will linger longer and longer. Grace and wisdom come with time if one learns along the way. There may someday be a place to call home that is soft and liberated and I hope I’ll be clever enough to recognize its difference. For now I will notice this moment, this one and this one and look for the changes.