Who are we, not to shine?


“We can live in the light with the same ease with which we live in our darkness.  We are surrounded by mentors, by men and women who have chosen to live life on a higher plane, for a higher purpose.  The music we listen to, the movies we watch, the books we read-al abound with reference to the sweetness of ‘amazing grace.'”

-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat

Day 345 – Yes, indeed, who are we, not to shine?  Rolf attributes this quote to Nelson Mandela; however, it is actually from the book, Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson, who writes:  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. /Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure./It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us./We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”  On one hand, I am covetous of my energy, fearful it will disappear or dwindle, suspicious and unsurprised when I am tired, but feel the draw to do it all anyway:  crossfit, dance, work, sleep, running about, cooking, etc.   And yet, there is something more.

Rolf uses this passage on isvara-prandihana, surrender to (G)od, (F)aith, devotion, to reintroduce this idea that there is a higher purpose, writing:  “There is a greatness right beneath the surface of everyday life, and every once in a while we catch a glimpse of it.  Those are the sudden, lucid flashes when life beguile us out of the prison of our minds and leads us right into the moment.”  It is a profound connectedness, which leaves us in awe and wonder.  Similarly, Caitlin Matthews speaks of this in today’s reading about “The Well at World’s End.”  Having grown up without a church or a religious ideology to shape and anchor me, I’m not sure I believe in giving energy, devotion, or surrender to an unknown and unseen (G)od, but I definitely have experienced the “sudden, lucid flashes,” and quite often.  Caitlyn Matthews describes the “Well at World’s End” as “those magical waters [which] have the power to revoke the march of mortality and to invoke the wild places of the heart.”  Yes, indeed! Who are we, not to shine?

We cannot live in our wild places, but they are there, and they can be revisited daily.  As Rolf how daily practice on our mats through meditation and asana helps us experience “deep connectedness as an everyday occurrence,” for many, I’m sure, “The Well at World’s End,” is not quite as accessible, unless you are a practicing shaman.  Nonetheless, it is quite powerful and healing and grounding to take time and to put forth energy into finding this place so you can be present in the world.

These readings made me think of the things I do not put my energy into at all or I put misplaced energy into.  First of all, there is cleaning.  I personally don’t like cleaning anything.  I suppose I don’t mind some cleaning, but (in general) I hate bathroom cleaning, bookshelf cleaning, washing clothes, etc.  Over the next few days, I’m going to figure out why that is.  The second item, misplaced energy, is an obvious for me–bad habits I must replace with better ones.  There are certain things that are just a waste of energy and do not allow us to shine:  gossip, complaining, (most) anger, perfectionism, the need to do more, overplanning, overcommitting, filling up silence with chatter (in my head and in a room full of people).  This, too, is something I would like to contemplate over the next few days.  After all, we can live in light just as easily as we can live in our darkness.  Who are we, not to shine?

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