Last week our son was working on his book presentation.
On his desk was a pile of novels. It was difficult for him to decide which one to settle on but one of the books caught my eye—The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This book is, according to me, a beautiful classic and every time I read it, it gets to me.
So I snatched it from his desk and re-read it. This time, there was one sentence that stuck out to me:
“What makes the desert beautiful, is that somewhere it hides a well.”
This quote has mystery in it. There’s a huge dry, desolate, harsh desert, and its beauty is that somewhere, it’s hiding a well. This well might be untraceable, but even so, that does not affect the beauty of this desert.
What I love about this is that it does not deny the desert for it is not just the well that is beautiful, but the whole desert.
The well needs the desert to give meaning to its specialness.
To well-desert metaphor can easily be applied in yoga–yoga does not deny or exclude anything, it takes and accepts all (and whole) of us.
When we first start practicing yoga, we we’re still hiding a bit, only showing it our good side. In the beginning it’s kind of like going out on a first date—wearing our most sensuous outfit, making sure that our hair is perfect, brushing our teeth three times and so on.
But, believe me, sooner or later yoga discovers the shady stuff. The dark stuff. The things we want nobody to see and the things we don’t even want to see ourself.
That’s when it starts to get interesting. And I think that that’s the point where some people break up with yoga. simply because it is to scary. And of course it is scary to face the junk that was so carefully hidden, disguised or locked away.
But I can make a vow right here, when Yoga meets your dirt, it will not judge, it will not give you the cold shoulder.
Yoga will not say “Maybe this is not the right time for us,” or “I’ll always remember last night, but I think we can forget about tomorrow”.
Yoga will not say “You’re perfect in every way, just not for me,” or “We’re just at different points in our lives”.
Yoga won’t say “I just can’t handle the distance….Sorry,” or “I need some space let’s just spend some time apart, see how it works out.”
Yoga will not say “I need to find myself and I just can’t do that with you,” or “My cat just doesn’t like you”.
No. Yoga will stay and embrace you—all of you. Because it knows that, in the depths of your darkness, somewhere you are hiding a well.
And this well is just waiting to be discovered. Waiting to be recognized. Waiting to say “This desert and me, we are one. We need each other in order to exist.”
You see, all the stuff we are hiding from ourselves, everything that does not stand the light of the day is just waiting for our loving attention. Waiting to be held. Waiting to not be denied anymore.
And when we stop denying our desert, this well will flourish and show us its potential and clarify the existence of our desert.
Author: Anne Soffer
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Steve Corey/Flickr