Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Open Your Heart: Life Lesson in Expanding and Contracting

The theme in the yoga studio this week seems to be expansion and contraction. Sunday, we practised intense hip openers with Robin, openers which pushed me right to my edge. (I was not quite sure that I'd be able to walk home. I did.)  On Monday, Colin spoke of how objects, people, life can expand so far that they disintegrate. We begin to contract in order to restore balance, but, if that contraction isn't tempered with control, we are in danger of becoming so compact, so closed, dense as it where, that we shut down.  Nothing reaches us.  No light can shine.

It seems to me that this is what's occurring in our fibre world right now. A few days ago, I wrote about the hazards of championing a specific style of spinning as the one true way to spin a particular type of yarn. Yesterday, I stumbled across a forum discussion about spinning where people had descended to personal attacks against other posters, all in the name of defending their pet techniques.  (Ironically, the group's name ends with "Love.") Essentially, everyone was fighting about not only how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but what dance those angels might be doing.  It was silly and fascinating and I thought that many of those people might not fare well when faced with a real crisis.

I think that these battles-and they happen everywhere, in fibre arts, in business, in religion, in yoga-are simply attempts to balance the over abundance of information which threatens to overwhelm us all the time, in every aspect of life.  The Truth May Be Out There, but how do we find a semblance of truth when every statement, every cause, every belief, every random thought that runs through someone's head can be posted on the infinite internet? Far too often, in an attempt to find a manageable system, we choose one cause or idea. We attach it to ourselves and ourselves to it.  We contract, and in doing so, we become so small that we have no space for differences. We've lost our light.

Restoring balance becomes important when we're faced with more serious issues. When you are handed a cancer diagnosis, your world tends to contract and expand at wild rates which never seem under your control.  Focus shifts to that one thing-cancer. Dealing with that can be overwhelming, all-consuming, which is understandable, because you must draw your attention to healing.  At the same time, the information you're given in order to make your best choices is massive.  You learn too much, too fast, until you feel as if you'll explode.

In the Renew for Cancer programme, as in all classes at Bodhi Tree Yoga, we work at coming back to balance.  At a time when you can feel as if life is out of control, an hour in a safe space, focusing on breath and movement, in bringing attention only to the Now, can do wonderful things for healing.  That hour becomes yours; there is some direction, but you choose your options.  You are doing something for yourself, rather than having something done to you. You learn to open. As you open, you sense that balance is there and you just may see that there is light glimmering among the shadows. And the light, however it shines, is beautiful.

I came across this image on Facebook today.  It's posted for sharing, so I thought I would present it here.  In a world that seems to move too quickly, where expansion and contraction fluctuate out of our control, finding the space to restore balance can bring us beauty.  Namaste.

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