Seek and ye shall find?

yoga bag.jpgA girl turned up to yoga last night and found she had left her yoga clothes at home. She laughed as she told me about looking in her bag for a third time not quite believing that they weren’t there. She couldn’t shake the feeling that if she just looked again a bit harder they’d somehow magically materialise.

I used to be a great believer in ‘seek and ye shall find’. I thought the more effort one put in, the greater the likely result, whatever it was I was looking for. Now I’m learning it’s not so simple. Results, answers, resolutions can be elusive. You can pursue them only so far, but you can’t always chase them down. Urgency and activity and just plain wanting something really badly won’t necessarily make it happen. True of the missing yoga clothes. Even more true when it comes to our hearts.

I have a close colleague who is severely depressed. When we talk I can see different parts of his brain looking at the problem from different directions. His logical, rational brain (and his is one of the most logical and rational I’ve come across) tells him that he shouldn’t feel the way he does, that his emotions are disproportionate. I know that he sees this split also between head and heart and it adds to his distress. He continues to feel a degree of mental pain that is almost unbearable for him. He can’t logic his way out of this, but he doesn’t know any other way. I see him marking time until his brain and heart reconcile themselves, with a hefty dose of medication which may or may not be helping. After a year of feeling near the end of his tether he questions how he can continue living this way. His desperate quest for resolution seems not to have yet taken him very far forward. Trying harder won’t necessarily help him find the relief he needs. In fact the frustration this causes might just make the emotional burden more difficult.

what you seek is seeking youHow then do we move on with (if not move on from) the suffering and troubles that we inevitably experience in our complicated human lives? If I had a simple answer, I’d share it willingly. I’m just starting to realise there’s a much more subtle level of work than I know how to describe, where love can slowly displace fear, where tightness and tension soften, and a comforting space replaces what was a dark abyss. Such changes are nurtured through tender, daily care, sustained with a generous dose of courage. The work is to keep coming back to the source of the pain and hold it close rather than turning away. So my practice is teaching me. It’s not about pursuing and seeking and wanting things to be like this or like that. It’s about truly seeing and wholly accepting things just the way they are. atha yogānuśāsanam.

And my friend who’d left her kit behind? Well, when she’d finally stopped rummaging in her bag and accepted that she’d left it behind, a solution offered itself to her in the form of the kindness of the studio lending her stuff to wear so she didn’t have to miss her practice. No naked yoga here!

 

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yoga bag image from livelovelulu.wordpress.com

5 thoughts on “Seek and ye shall find?

  1. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” I looked up this well-known verse from Matthew 7:7, because I knew there were other parts to the quotation. I like the three-fold symmetry. We need to do something: ask – seek – knock, and then we need to not do something, but be receptive: it will be given, you will find, the door will be opened. We’re all about the effortful part – if only I ask often enough or seek everywhere, or knock loud enough! The most challenging part is, once we’ve spoken our heart’s desire with clarity, we need to wait in the silence and in the obscure dark with an open heart. The Universe hears. The God of Love only wants us to dissolve in the embrace of that love. The answer will come, but not likely as we pictured it. Rather, in an infinitely unique and wondrous way.
    Believe.
    Ishvara pranidhana.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Who knew the bible contained such wisdom? 😉
      Thank you so much for this thoughtful and beautiful comment, k8. You’ve summed up my recent experiences so well with your words. I thought the waiting in the obscure dark was the hard part (once I found a way to make less strenuous efforts), but now I find that actually hearing an answer is infinitely more challenging. The dissolving part feels most unnatural! Ishvara pranidhana needs much more practice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally agree with your statement about trying harder won’t necessarily bring the relief you need. I struggled with that during illness, not ‘trying harder’ seemed like I was giving in but ultimately I had to let my body have some time and recover in its own way. When I stopped struggling and trying so hard, I found relief. Great post. But I’m going to check my bag for my yoga clothes many times before I leave for class this afternoon!

    Liked by 2 people

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