January 26, 2012

Exit Here.

Imagine you are on a freeway, driving an old station wagon… 

Your wagon is filled to the brim with junk…cans and bottles, dirty laundry, nails, yard waste, Kleenexes, even the kitchen sink.  The garbage presses against you as you drive.  But you aren’t moving very fast…the freeway is congested and full of other drivers and vehicles full of trash and scrap.  There are semi-trucks, sedans, and Winnebagos.  You see a shiny clean BMW, but rotting debris is squeezing through the sunroof.  Some drivers can barely see out their windshields and have to stick their heads out the window.  They are shouting.  Others are honking.  A woman in a sports car attempts to toss her dirty dishes into a passing truck.  Another lady walks in circles around her van picking up trash that those inside keep throwing out.  A man on a motorcycle falls and spills his waste all over the road, stopping traffic completely.  Children scamper out of SUV’s and sift through, hoping to find a treasure, but instead getting dirty and scraped and sick in the rot.  The scene is chaotic, confused, and messy.  People are acting angry, blaming, jealous, resentful, and exhibiting random acts of road rage.   

There is a ramp lane ahead, “Exit here for open roads!”  But nobody takes it.  Some can’t see it with their trash blocking the view.  Others consider it a joke or a trap, too good to be true.  Some are too far in an opposite lane and too tired to look for openings in traffic.  A few cars try to squeeze along shoulders and between lanes, looking for short-cuts.  But nobody exits.

What if the exit wasn’t a hoax?  What if, just up the exit ramp was a gently curving highway long and clear with a beautiful ocean view with zero traffic?  What if you found a sunny country lane lined with cherry trees in blossom, perfect for a Sunday drive, in a world where every day is Sunday?  What if, at the top of the ramp, was a posh hotel and spa waiting for you and only you to stop and rest?  As my dear dad might say, “I don’t buy it.”  Well guess what…this won’t be a toll road and the parking is free too.

In his book, Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness, Erich Schiffman offers, “Be careful not to just accept or reject this idea.  Live with it, test it out, see if it’s true.”

image by Ian Greig

So try changing lanes, move toward the exit and get off the obstructed, heaving, choked, and jammed superhighway of ego acceptance (or what we “think” is real life) and set your sights on the exit ramp?  What’s the worst that could happen?  Sure, you might find another jam-up, but you also might find an open flowing freeway.  There might be a lot of cloggage between you and the exit, but inch forward with patience.  I mean, anything’s better than idling in this mess forever!    

Merge into meditative practices (whatever your flavor) and watch as your wheels begin rolling on smooth surfaces…

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