Pratyhara is the decision to turn inward, to let go of drama. It is the choice to release our grip on the external world and all our attempts to control it, in order to focus our minds entirely on the internal…Pratyahara is the moment when the intrepid explorers leave their boats on the shore and head inland.
Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
Day 286 – Fearlessness begins upon awakening before the cup of coffee. She wears no particular clothes. She is perhaps at first fearless due to the numbness of the hour–4:45 a.m. Fearlessness washes the dishes, feeds and cares for and coos over fuzzy children (who else would be up at this hour?). Fearlessness sits down to a meditation/pranayama practice with fearlessness in mind because it makes her feel more fearless.
In today’s reading, Rolf asks us to begin our asana practice, and “note the edge.” He asks: “At what point do you draw your boat onto the shore and head inland?” Indeed. I settled into a nice 10 minute meditation and self-led stretch following. If not now, when? At what point do we, as “fearless” adults, give to ourselves so we might give more to others?
Rolf continues to question us, asking: “What reservations do you have about this? What resistance do you have to let go of the past and the future?” Indeed. What are our barriers to loving ourselves and, therefore, loving others? How does Fearlessness play off the mat? How does Fearlessness observe this process, pratyahara, of turning inward as it is played out as the “wildlings,” her little people still at home, awake and prepare to go about their day? How does Fearlessness observe this process as it is played out at school with even more wildlings? With coworkers? With the world at large?
Indeed. Fearlessness settles into a 10-minute sessions (start where you are with what you have). Fearlessness closes her eyes, softens her focus, consciously breathes into the back body, allows the sounds of banging and beeping (as the rest of the house begins to awake around her) to come and go, and…yeah, just that, breathes. Each time Fearlessness senses an annoyance (the most common emotion to pop up) or a worry about something that needs to be done), Fearlessness notes this and directs attention back on the breath and the back body, the tip of Fearlessness’s nose, the inner landscape–whatever, knowing that surely as she is Fearless, she is also human. No judgment.
Today, Rolf asks us to “Pay attention to where you go, where your attention is placed.” He asks us to honor our commitments to work, to relationships, and to ourselves. He reminds us that this is not meant to be hard work, but Fearless people know sometimes adulthood feels like hard work. And yet, Fearlessness finds that she is not rushed in meditation, so why should she be following meditation? Steady and relaxed, breath flowing freely, Fearlessness steps off her mat.