24 September 2009

Divine Reflections...

Atlantic Beach, 21 September 2009

I remember at certain brief moments throughout my childhood and adolescence I would think about how the world, before our time, was once a vast, empty space...full of nothing and would wonder why it was that people, animals, plants and objects came to exist and fill this pure, uncorrupted space (my private Christian education was wonderful but I could never seem to grasp the whole Adam and Eve thing). What was our purpose? Why were my Mother, Father, family, friends and pets put on this earth? I tried to imagine the expansive nothingness and picture what it was like and when I could finally create a tiny vision of it in my head, I would become afraid...afraid of the solitude, the unknown, darkness and would quickly reach out and cling to the earthly and safe things I knew. Being quite young, I figured that since we, as humans, existed then the divine emptiness must be gone. Our presence destroyed it. It wasn't until my exposure to yogic philosophy and Buddhism where I learned that it's ALL about the emptiness! Believing in emptiness is key to liberation. Not only is emptiness still out there but it is not something that can be destroyed. It is enlightenment, samadhi, god, the soul of the universe, the big picture...titles may vary. It was refreshing to know that harboring those unconventional thoughts as a child didn't mean I was weird, only that I was momentarily contemplating the meaning of life (although some family members might say I was a weird kid ;-)

Luckily, during my yoga practice and meditation I can once again ponder that emptiness, and on a good day even get a tiny glimpse of it without fear or apprehension. Yoga, with its endless lessons, teaches me patience and how to let go. It reminds me that we were created for a beatific reason...to mindfully fulfill our journeys in this life so that we may one day return to the emptiness. Along the way, on my journey back to that emptiness I must learn love, compassion, detachment, mindfulness and so many other truths and principles...I am grateful to be equipped with the compass of yoga and road-map of mediation.

02 September 2009

Look up at the sky and pause...

"He who binds himself to a joy doth the winged life destroy. But he who kisses it as it flies, lives in eternity's sunrise." - William Blake

2009 started off as good year. Then as summer approached the pressure came in waves. I stressed about final exams…made it through those, thankfully. Graduated from law school. Yippee! Then, uuuggghh…the dreaded bar exam. After 2 months of living under the fluorescent lights of study rooms, wearing only sweat pants and studying my brains out, the bar exam comes and goes. Phew! Now…the waiting begins. Waiting for bar exam results is like being in the waiting room of a dentist’s office for 2 months and not knowing if you are going in for an easy cleaning or a root canal. Agony, fear and impatience are frequent visitors in your mind every day.

Like many of my fellow classmates, I decided to do a little bit of traveling to take my mind off bar exam grade day. I flew home to Texas to visit my family and eat some legit Mexican food. Then it was off to New Orleans for a friend’s bachelorette celebration. My last stop was in Washington, D.C. to reconnect with my patriotism. During those 4 weeks, I finished reading 2 books (non-law related), got my hair done, did some shopping, sightseeing, went to some great restaurants, and enjoyed the company of loved ones. All of the things I had to temporarily sacrifice to study for the bar. I had fun and savored the sweet taste of having a break.

Unfortunately, what I did not do was yoga. No meditating or spiritual discipline. While I was acting like a vacationer and either stuffing my face, enjoying a cocktail, admiring my highlights or having the occasional anxiety attack about bar exam results in between, I completely neglected my spiritual practice. Shame on me. This made it easy for the impatience, fear, nail-biting and doubt to creep their way in. Once again I allowed my ego to set me back and halt the learning process of my spiritual journey. What I ended up with was more attachment and a weakened spirit. It’s amazing how quickly and easily we let go of the things that make us strong.

When we are spiritually weak it becomes difficult to handle aversion, hardship or any storms that may unexpectedly impact our lives. When unhappy surprises pop up it is easy to feel victimized. We wonder why this is happening, who or what is to blame and how can we fix it or get away from it as fast as possible. Rather than wallowing in sorrow or pressing fast-forward in order to escape our temporary negative circumstances we must face them…head on. Working through the situation and being fully active in its learning process will help the healing and allow us to grasp the true nature of its occurrence. Revel in the suffering and be grateful…because there are blessings and great lessons lying within.

Without going into more detail, I’ve learned my lesson. I’m embracing the waiting room because I know I’m strong enough to handle a measly cleaning or a root canal. I’ll live either way.

I am now focused on rebuilding, returning to yoga, working, reading, learning, preparing and getting quiet. Saying goodbye to the past, greeting the present and saluting the future.