Extended metaphors

“And in all spiritual practice, the struggle against greed, hatred and ignorance, against ingrained selfishness that has covered over our natural huminosity, can for a long time be as ferocious as an external war. During this time even the slightest clarity or opening of the heart is a major triumph, and metaphors of victory and defeat of conquering our enemies and overcoming fierce obstacles, seem only too accurate, as if they were straightforward description.”

–Stephen Mitchell, from preface of Bhagavad Gita: A New Testament (p. 16)

Ganesha, Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Lakshmi, Mula Bandha, Sabagh–mysterious words that swirl about me, popping up here and there in my mind, as I gently remind myself to refocus on a single-point, listening to my breath….in and out, in and out, in and out. I notice the peaceful stillness on the “and” and on the “comma”, located in a place entirely within my being, outside of my mind. And I remember with deep longing to remain in this timeless place; however, I am also, all at once, cognizant of my need to breathe.

Life is movement. Life is breath. Everyday life is a quandry, full of misconceptions, suffering, and conundrums. Words come to me, but do not adequately express the deep peace that comes with my yoga practice. Like all works in progress, I try to maintain this equanimity and focus throughout my day, staying deeply reflective of in my personal truisms–however abstract they may be– as well as the collective metaphors. After all, cliches exist for a reason, and myths still delight and challenge us.

The best metaphors connect us with what exists that we still do not see. The sages show but don’t reveal; metaphors are a mirror of our inner condition. As such, our journey to see may take a lifetime. The breath itself holds key to much. We are born inhaling and leave our earthly and physical body exhaling. The space between the inhale and the exhale allows for peace when we seek it. And so, yoga practice each morning is my living metaphor…the first breath which bornes the new day. What will I make of it?

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