Monday, July 25, 2011

Soul food?

So what happens if you actually find that stillness? Is there some alignment of planets, the hitherto unattainable suddenly being attained – Disney-like fireworks – lottery check appearing in the hand? You get the picture – right? What exactly is the prize?

Stillness is pretty good just for its own sake; it's not often that we get to enjoy being still during a regular day. So if it just stopped there, and we got to enjoy a little peace and quiet, then that alone would be pretty good. But I think there's more to it.

One of my yoga friends sent a book to me in Spain: “Empowering Your Soul Through Meditation”. While sounding a little heavy, perhaps not what you might choose for a good read at the beach, the ideas behind it are pretty simple. And it connects with what I think happens to me in that little interlude of stillness. The author, Rajinder Singh, encourages the reader to explore the limitless potential of their own soul or spirit. An activity to start the process of empowering one's own soul or spirit is to find a state of peace and then just listen; give your soul the chance to talk to you.

And then I started to connect the dots: that feeling after an intense yoga class, the state of peace that follows from all that hard work – isn't that what keeps me going back and doing it all over again? And then there are the bonus points, those little glimpses of stillness that pop up from time to time within an asana, like the dollar note you find bundled up in the laundry. So I think that is when my spirit talks to me. Not a full-blown conversation but more like a little hum; a chance for my spirit to just buzz a bit. It let's me know that it's there – being happy, like it has just been fed a good meal.

It seems to me that all the work we do in yoga is to feed the spirit, or in more “yoga-speak”, to empower the soul. Maybe that will lead to greater self-realization or bring me closer to God or some undefined Universal spirit. Or maybe not. I tend to take it at face value and just accept that an empowered soul is a good thing, and that's enough for me right now.

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