The bumper to bumper traffic seemed non-ending; much like the yellow snake of some fifty school buses that pour forth from my son's high school trying to get everyone home. With cars everywhere, brake lights were like Christmas tree lights constantly blinking on and off and the stop/start motion of the car soon led to three out of four of us feeling carsick. I lay down in the backseat, my son's leg my pillow, and focused on my breath. Ujjayi breath in, hold my breath, ujjayi breath out, hold my breath. I thought it was working until the next quick brake of the car and my stomach reminded me it was still very present. I tried just witnessing the breath's travels in and out through my nose but that, too, proved to be no contest for my increasing discomfort. My thoughts turned to jello...
I had actually had two recent conversations about what people put on jello. Side story...I never knew this was weird until my twenties, but my mom always served jello with miracle whip to put on top; I think most people serve it with whipped cream?? Not sure about that. Anyway...
Maybe if I relaxed completely and let my body move with the car like a bowl of jello I would feel better. It seemed to work. Jello wiggles and moves with its environment. Sitting on a plate on the counter, it sits still. When the plate is lifted and carried to the table, the jello moves as the plate does. It "goes with the flow". Isn't that what we should really try to apply in life? Without resistance, we take our energy back.
Grateful to a fellow yogi for a gift of oracle-type cards, I drew one this morning to base my class theme around. The card I drew was titled "Fugacious Flower Impermanance". Admittedly, I first had to look up the word "fugacious"! Once I did, it seemed redundant with the use of the word impermanence, but I digress...it means fleeting. It's a card about flow; about moving eloquently with change rather than not. It reads:
"Your awareness of impermanence is blooming. Notice the beauty of a flower in every stage. The only certainty in life is the nature of change. Be at one with, and ride, the wave of change, without egotistical force. Follow the wisdom of your heart and move forward while honoring valuable lessons of the past."
This card, for me, is very apropos considering I was at a funeral on Friday, but what does it mean to you? I drew it with the intention the card was for the class so figure out how this idea of being okay with the non-permanent nature of life relates to you.
Impermanence is one of the three aspects of existence in Buddhism. The other two are suffering and the idea of non-self or non-soul.
From the Bhagavad Gita:
"Whatever happened was good
Whatever is happening is good
Whatever will happen will also be good
What of yours has gone to make you cry ?
What did you bring with you that you have lost ?
What did you create which is now destroyed ?
What you have taken you have taken only from here.
What was given was given only from here.
What is yours today, was someone else's yesterday, will be someone else's tomorrow.
Change is the law of the Universe"
Buddhism and Hinduism debate the third point regarding the soul. I believe we do have an ever changing soul that grows and learns with each lifetime it explores. Regardless, we are simply talking about change. Being okay with the idea that everything does and will always change is where the jello-like refuge becomes your saving grace.
Byron Katie wrote, "Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon or too late. You don't have to like it...it's just easier if you do."
You may have seen me post this on facebook last week after my mother-in-law died. I think it is a fabulous reminder that change is okay and perspective is paramount.
What is Dying? by Bishop Brent
"I am standing upon that foreshore, a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, “there! she’s gone!”
“Gone where?” “Gone from my sight, that’s all”, she is just as large in mast and spar and hull as ever she was when she left my side; just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of her destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “there! she’s gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “here she comes!”
And that is dying."