Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Under the Weather

My father-in-law gets aggravated by meteorologists. He wants accurate weather forecasting because he runs a seasonal business and most of the work is performed outside. He rants about weather conditions and unreliable weather reports, amusing his family members and associates. His weather monologues are predictable and quite funny.

My husband says that I also take weather conditions and inaccurate forecasting personally. I grew up in Missouri, a relatively agrarian state compared to New York (where we now live), and talking about the weather was a given in any conversation. People said things like, "Welcome to Missouri! If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes...it will change!" Here on Earth, the weather certainly changes a lot (unless you live in the desert, or San Diego). 

The Missouri weather hyperbole, "wait five minutes and it will change," can be used just about anywhere, and, truthfully... it can be applied to almost anything in life! Think about all the cliche weather metaphors in our language. 3,2,1, Go! The winds of change, the seasons of love, a whirlwind romance, a sunny disposition, a foggy memory, a fair-weather friend... We see our life condition reflected in the weather, which changes, often unpredictably. Yet, we all long for some kind of permanence and stability, something enduring, not subject to erosion.

What underlies the changeable weather? What is beyond unstable conditions? I think of the sky as the eternal backdrop underlying the weather. When I first learned to meditate, I read in books and was told in classes to think of my awareness as the pure, blue sky, and my distracting thoughts and emotions as clouds and weather systems. This weather analogy still makes a lot of sense to me. I do have moments of clarity in my life and in my spiritual practice, and these moments feel like a clear, sunny day in my consciousness. There is a sense of expansion and weightlessness. 

In one of my recent classes I was locked out of the studio where I teach due to a faulty key for the dead bolt. Fortunately, it was a beautiful, clear day, so I invited the students who wanted to stick around to practice outside on the grass. At the end of savasana I asked them to open their eyes and look at the clear, blue sky for a couple of minutes. Then I said a few words about how our yoga practice helps us to uncover the clear and unchanging aspect of our own being, our own pure consciousness. Two Sanskrit words often used to describe this powerful and unchanging awareness underlying our being are atman and purusha

Words can be helpful in pointing us to an experience which ultimately defies and surpasses definition. Read up on atman and purusha in the Yoga Sutras or other yogic texts if you are interested; more importantly, use self-inquiry in your yoga and meditation practice to find out if you believe you have pure consciousness within your being. Is it there? Are you able to experience it, even if only for a moment? Will you know when you experience it? Or do you believe that all of you is subject to change, erosion and forces beyond your control? Who are you? Are you your thoughts, emotions and concrete physical sensations, or is there something more? Can you use yoga to experience more of the expansive, blue sky and fewer days "under the weather?" I believe that you can and that I can, based on my own practice and self-inquiry. Your journey is yours alone, so I am asking you to look deeply and see what is true for you. I invite you to use this practice to seek and possibly uncover a pure and unchanging aspect of yourself, seeing what's really there, under the weather. 

No comments:

Post a Comment