In our darkest moments, our true self does not abandon us. The insight of pranayama is that the breath is a physiological link between the eternal Self and the field of ever-changing sensation. As we gain control over the breath, the voice of the witness can be heard over the din of our experience.
-Rolf Gates, Meditation from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
Day 263 – Wow, wow and WOW! Today, Rolf introduces us to the metaphysical teaching of B.K.S. Iyengar in his opening quote: “The body is the field of righteousness and also of tribulation. It is the former when used for good and the latter when used for bad. It is the field, and the Self is the knower thereof. Pranayama is the bond between the two.” Rolf translates this for us, simply, writing: “The body is the field, the place where it all goes down.” As such, I experienced this on this very morning, awakening to the power and might of stress and anxiety caused by the events in the news and the dramas of work, as well as my fears and shortcomings. Apparently, there was quite a lot going on in my subconscious and it manifested quite a nightmare.
Rolf writes that when “we feel anger, fear, desire, loss, madness, and boredom on the field of our bodies, our emotions…the Self, the witness, that which makes choices, is the knower. ” As my 7th grade English class reads, “The Road Not Taken,” I think of these choices I make when the path feels unclear and I, the knower, feel unknowing. I think of the choices I make each and every day with regard to news–situations over which I have no control. How so to explain the layer of meaning contained in this poem and experienced as we mature to 12- and 13-year olds, many of whom are deaf? On one hand, there is a reality and literalness to words, and yet everywhere, these words–in the news, spoken by our loved ones at times, heard in our hearts over and over–have greater impact on their figurative and symbolic levels.
Today, I settled into a meditation practice to bring lightness and expansion to my head and neck/shoulder regions, and breath and touch was the link to the clearing of the neural pathways. I had clarity–awareness–and calmness–well-being. We have choice as adults to create circumstances that cleanse our palate and our lens, and lighten our being. Meditation does such for me. And as such, perhaps I will choose the one path less travelled, and that will make all the difference.