“Go to the limits of your longing… Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final” (Rilke)
Practice at the moment is an experience of longing. I feel a deep yearning to be more fully with myself, to let go of the past, to feel the reality of the present, and — yes — to keep going into the beauty and the terror of the future.
In class recently my teacher offered a few simple assists, not fancy poses just the basics, and the emphasis felt to me as though he was willing me to sink in a little more. He doesn’t push or pull me into place, but sometimes he gently insists that I take a little more of what’s on offer in a pose than I would naturally imagine possible for myself.
We had a private recently too. A deep conversation about fears and avoidance, relationship with self and others, with old self and new self. About the difficulty of sustaining deep and honest enquiry, about personal suffering and those pesky citta vritti-s. And it was one of those wonderful moments with a teacher, when you feel the anxieties and confusions just drop away in their presence. I offered my raw self up for examination and he showed me there was nothing to fear, that all this stuff is just as it is — as it is for him too in his own version of my struggles, in his own practice.
In my home practice I’m trying to grant the same generosity to myself. It’s often a little messy. I find the beauty and the terror are not two opposites, they’re mixed up, one intertwined with the other. Like Yin and Yang, each contains the seeds of the other. And each pose too contains so many opposites. I feel in my muscles, the spiralling, counter-twisting actions. And now I feel in my emotions too — yearning is a sweet grief for something lost or not yet found. The past is full of pains but they contain rich potential and are the seeds of my present and my future. And, oh that future — I long to be there already, fully formed and whole — yet aware that this is already how it is, if I can allow it. The future is not separate from the present. Time flows. The future is now!
“It’s time!” my teacher told me. Time to try a different way of being.