Day 241 – Today (and yesterday) held existential crises for me. I asked myself many questions following a “loving kindness” meditation–and, on a side note, do you happen to know how many of these meditations exist on Youtube and other places across the U-verse? I contemplated, prayed, moved, and simultaneously suppressed my present concepts of strength, patience, compassion, and happiness. I kind of do this on a daily basis, but not to this extent for it is the suffering of the one that you love, that all your own suffering surfaces, and unable to swim, slowly sinks to the recesses of your soul, like a swamp creature, ready-ing itself to emerge from the murk at the most inconvenient times. Like a bad movie, I know its coming. I can hear the music. It calls to all of us. There is just stuff you have to deal with.
Today’s readings are about being effortless and firm in your mind (which brings to mind strength to me). Rolf uses the posture mountain pose (tadasana) as an example of these qualities, and it is literally and figuratively metaphorical strength. We stand in tadasana projecting ourselves both forward, firm in where we are planted, feet grounding, crown lifting, and past behind us, but open for all to see. We are calm; who is going to move a mountain?. We are standing, for Christ’s sake; how effortless is it to stand compared to other postures? Rolf uses mountain pose in his teaching to guide his students to call upon this effortlessness and firmness in other poses.
Likewise, Rolf discusses letting go of the need to push, even though within him “lives a coach who has prepared…for state wrestling tournaments, Army Ranger school, and more than one marathon.” Similarly, it is this coach who is “usually waiting for me when I arrive on my mat,” too. The one that says, “Come on, you need to move.” The one that says, “Meditation? How will that give you strength, mobility, compassion?” Like all things, we learn to shut off certain aspects within ourselves that we wish not to heed (at least for the time being), and we do this through our mind. The mind tells us we will win, that we are strong and can lift that weight, that we can finish the race, that we can write that paper, or even that we can get that promotion, job, etc. A maybe that coach can bring out qualities that are truly valuable to the world and our souls, such as persistence, physical stamina and strength, grit, confidence, etc.
Like most existential crises, there are no pat resolutions. I listen to myself chatter in my mind, but I know the answers are deeper and require more thought than just a 10-minute. meditation or yoga session. I know that the answers lie in the journey and the company of those that love and support me and also in my love and support of those I love. I know the answers will come, or not, and that sometimes we seek and sometimes we let go. All things pass (except the swamp thang–it lives!). In the presence of love, existential crises seem not so formidable and confusing. Meditation and movement with intention (such as a loving kindness meditation) really brings love to the forefront of one’s mind and the meanings of strength, compassion, patience, and happiness shine through.