Ode to Muses, One and All


This is love: to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First, to let go of live.
In the end, to take a step without feet;
to regard this world as invisible,
and to disregard what appears to be the self.

Heart, I said, what a gift it has been
to enter this circle of lovers,
to see beyond seeing itself,
to reach and feel within the breast.

Rumi, “This is Love” poem

Day 328 – All day I’ve had a migraine, the kind that develops into a light-sensitive one, the kind that I can feel intensify when I open my jaw and hear it creak, the powerful one that creates nausea.  It creeped up on me, following fatigue, vague unwellness, depression, irritation, and loads of activities to ward it away.  Perhaps it was hormonal, perhaps it was dietary, perhaps it was due to the tattoo I got a week and a half ago on the shoulder, perhaps it was too much activity, perhaps it was stress, perhaps it was the unrest in the world, which weights me down at times, and perhaps it is the realization of Yeats’ “Second Coming.”  Whatever the reason, Rolf writes today, quoting the Bhagavad Gita:  He should lift up the self by the Self, and so that is what I did.

I don’t know what works for everyone.  I do know a lot about a lot of things, and I do read a lot and take a lot of what I learn and journal these days.  I’ve been doing this for a long, long, long time.  It helps me recognize patterns of behavior and habits of thinking, and I am so willing to change whatever I need to be a source of light, rather than a big slug.  I know that change takes practice, patience, and reflection.  I know that the mind has to be clear, even if the body is in a state of pain.  I’m learning to accept my limitations on time, movement, clarity, but there’s so much I want to do all the time–except when I sleep because I like my sleep.

In today’s reading, Rolf discusses how change initially happens, writing:  “We embark on a remarkable journey as we begin to consciously flow through the stages of samyama…powered by spirit.”  Although I’m quite sure I’ve not experienced samadhi of late, I have had some subtle, but powerful epiphanies.  Questions form in my mind.  For example, recently I began to wonder about a culture that would understand life-death-life as reincarnation and not dualistically or nihilistically.  It is quite fascinating to me to think that it more likely was born of love than of war.  Even if there are gobs of academic research (which I’m sure there is), the deeper roots of this stem out of a worldview of hope and wonder and logically, I know that this culture existed in survival mode.

And, what of intuition?  To me, intuition and inspiration are muses (like the Greeks and Romans).  I envision them as beautiful little demi-goddesses/gods who run on and through the web of the universe that connects us all to one another.    I feel them in my dance, in my words, and in my head.   The world becomes metaphorical to me in health, but literal in malaise.   And sometimes I think that our society is walking around in ill-health and dis-ease and the muses are unknown, forgotten, or misinterpreted by most.

In any case, today, I finally took a second nap with a yoga nidra recording on.  I set my intention:  headache gone, but it didn’t feel right as a mantra, so I chanted (in my head):  clear mind, clear mind, clear mind.  I went in and out of sleep, but each time I woke up my body and mind felt clearer and lighter and better.  Of course, I know yoga nidra isn’t meant to be used for napping, but this has been working for me for a couple of years.  And, today, I recognized the speaker (the yoga teacher, who sounded much like a robot) was running along the myofascial lines, which is simply compelling to me, because I’m taking a class about the fascia.

Rolf describes that you cannot force samyama, writng:  “We do not attempt to make dhyana a regular part of our experience for selfish reasons, or with the will of the unaided ego.  Rather, we prepare ourselves to be open to grace.”  My practice of yoga opens up all the channels to love–of one’s self, of others, of the world.  Moreover, he adds:  “With the yamas and the niyamas serving as the rock upon which all our efforts rest, we become willing to be used by love for love’s purposes.”

This week, I’ve needed words of encouragement.  Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve received them, though I did not heed them until today, where they flow through me from all directions, pouring out of every nook and cranny and community, flooding me, overwhelming me.  When I am unwell, or unhinged, or imbalanced physiologically I cannot muster the words of love toward myself.  Yet, in today’s reading–although the message is not a new one–I see that “whatever work or relationships may come our way, they are transformed by the grace that flows through us” and that “our experience of being in the world is one of ever-increasing peace, clarity, understanding, and ability.”  Thus, in gratitude, I thank my muses–intuition and inspiration–who have given me the gift to re-enter “this circle of lovers.”

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