Monday, June 27, 2016

To Be, Or Not To Be

Last Tuesday, June 21st, was World Yoga Day as voted on in a resolution by the United Nations. Programs, classes and interviews with the world’s leading teachers and inspirational leaders were broadcast online all day and well into the night due to the time differences. I spent the day awash in the beauty of the teachings, the fluidity of the movements, and the yearning in my heart that the music and chanting uncovered. One teacher in particular seemed to reach out to me across the air waves and hold me in his words and his eyes. His name was Mooji. I was so taken with him that I looked up his website and found that he had dozens and dozens of free video sessions, or “satsangs” as they are called. In one of them, he was talking to a young man who was trying to live his life spontaneously instead of always having to live by a plan. Mooji turned to his students and, looking out at them, invited them to throw away the life they planned and learn to “just be.”

The next day I took some time to ponder on that and made it the focus of my morning meditation. At first my mind balked at such a thing. Sure, it was okay to do that once in a while, or even to make some time each day to just be as I was doing at that moment with my meditation practice, but to live your whole life that way? It seemed irresponsible to me at first. So I sat with it a while longer. Opening my eyes I looked out into the garden and sat in perfect stillness, with no noise except that of the birds and the farm trucks that passed on the road. For almost an hour, I sat … and sat … and sat. I looked at a patch of daises that had popped up out of nowhere this year and were waving their faces in the morning breeze. Those daises, I thought, have no plan. They do what they need to do to survive, like reaching for the sun, and taking in water and nutrients from the soil, but they do not plan to live, they just live. I looked at the purple spires thrusting up from the Lamb’s Ear plants, and the hummingbird that was going from one to the other getting what it needed. It had no plan for the day. It didn’t say, “Well, I’ll go visit the Lamb’s Ear this morning, and then I’ll go over to the farmhouse across the street after lunch and see what the lady put in the feeder.” No, he simply went about his business being a hummingbird. Sure, he had a job to do which was to feed and protect himself, just as we all do, but he didn’t agonize or obsess over it. He was just “being” a hummingbird.
As I look back over my life, I am amazed at how I managed to arrive at this ripe old age intact and sane. How many years I wasted as I drove myself to distraction with planning my life. It is certainly okay to have dreams and goals, but if we don’t allow ourselves the space to just be who we are, and be okay with it, we cut ourselves off from our real lives. In the end, as Mooji told us that day, we don’t really need anything to be happy, but we do need something to be sad. It takes no energy to be the Self, but a lot of energy to be a person. I’d rather be a happy self than a sad person.
I still get up every morning now and do my morning prayers, my chair yoga and my meditations. I still make the bed, wash the dishes, sweep the kitchen floor and attend to my daily responsibilities. I still show up at my keyboard or journal and write. The difference is that I don’t do any of it according to any plan or timetable. I do it as it comes. I don’t fret over it or complain about it. I am just “being.” And when the time comes for me to sit, I give myself over to the Self that witnesses all, sees all, and needs nothing. Not a bad way to live, don’t you think?
And so it is.
P.S. For those of you who read my post about Doris the Morning Dove, I have an update: she's found a boyfriend! All of that lonely cooing and calling paid off in the form of a stout-looking guy who follows her everywhere. Let this be a lesson to all of the ladies: when you send out love, love flies back to you!