“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life.
I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking.
I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances without own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
~ Joseph Campbell
A friend commented to me yesterday that my yoga updates had swiftly taken a turn for the deep and philosophical (she meant to be complimentary). I think as I got going with it, I quickly realized a few things:
1. I love having a daily yoga practice. I also love having a daily writing practice. Putting the two together is sometimes challenging.
2. It’s fun to put pictures of my practice with my posts, but it also interrupts the flow of my practice and, since I’m using the photo booth on my laptop to take them, they often look bizarre.
3. After an incredibly difficult 2012, I’ve felt a major shift lately. I don’t know whether it’s just my personal stuff and my own growth, something more global or a little of both. Either way, it’s affecting my writing.
So what do Gomukhasana and Joseph Campbell have in common? They both want us to open up.
If we are going to experience “the rapture of life,” first we need to open up. It’s easy to disconnect. It’s so easy, especially now that our main way of communicating with each other involves wires and bytes instead of eye contact and body language.
I find myself lately, physically, emotionally and spiritually seeking out the things that open me up:
Deep chest and hip opening postures. Heart-opening conversations. Simple things that move me out of my comfort zone.
Because it isn’t about looking for a “meaning.” All those heroes’ quests that Campbell wrote about? The point of our quest is to truly experience being alive. When we have come alive, then we are able to be a part of something larger than ourselves.
I had another conversation with an acquaintance who was challenging me, saying that introspection on these things was a waste of time; we need to be focused on changing the world. To a certain extent, I agree. But the difference between self-centered seeking of feel-good experiences and truly wanting to expand our lives is intention.
We cannot change the world unless we start with the world inside first.
Actually, Howard Thurman said it much better than I can:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
May your life reach inside your chest and wake you up. May it stretch you in ways that are blissfully uncomfortable. May you come alive.
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