Do you ever feel beautiful? Or, more to the point, experience the Beauty that is in us all, just because we are alive?
I have been much in my shadow self the last few weeks. This is not a pretty place to be, not comfortable, and certainly not consonant with my idea of myself as a ‘good’ person. A large part of my self-definition comes from Being A Good Person, so when I think and behave in ways that are possibly harmful, that have been influenced by unclear thinking, it throws me more than a little!
It would even be funny, if it wasn’t so uncomfortable: here I have all this theory, I KNOW what’s going on with me, but these little perspective-eating monsters chew away at my equanimity anyway.
The Yoga Sutra calls those little monsters kleshas, or obstacles to clear perception. I have talked about them before, too! Recurring theme? Hmmm.
Allow me to list them, just so I can check whether I have that particular obstacle in my head right now:
Avidya - wrong knowledge or misapprehension, although it can be translated in other, kinder ways. The misapprehension, really, is that we are somehow separate from Source, from the divine animation that is Us.
Yup, definitely got that one.
Asmita - false identity, or excessive identification with ‘I’.
I want this, I fear that, I need this.
Oh yeah, got that one for sure.
Raga - excessive attachments, or desire.
I want this, I want this, I want this!
Yup. Got that one.
Dvesa - unreasonable dislikes, or aversions.
I fear this, that makes me anxious, I don’t like that…
Yup. Got it.
Abhinivesha - insecurity. The deepest one. I don’t think I need to tell you…I’ve got this one too!
These are universal human conditions, clearly, or there wouldn’t be a treatise about them that is thousands of years old. Nor would the therapy industry exist.
But I have discovered, while I sit, meditate, ponder the issues at hand, behave badly, and hope for some clarity, that there are times, even in the midst of this morass, when I can still feel my Beauty.
Teaching yoga is one of those times. Not always, of course, but very often, when I am fully in the yoga room, tuned in to Those who have come to practice, I experience a clarity, Oneness, focus that is maybe as close to actual Yoga, union, as I generally come.
Practicing asana, pranayama and meditation is another of those times. The feeling of life-force moving through my body and breath, or sometimes, moving my body and breath, is close to ecstatic. Especially when I am not in physical pain, but, surprisingly, often when I am, too. In these times I experience myself as beautiful. Physically beautiful. This generally doesn’t happen in my daily life, what with looking nothing like the media-pushed images of beauty. But it happens on the mat. Oh, yes!
I sat with a good friend yesterday, and she helped me clear some things. This is what she said; so wise, I have to share it:
Life is right, na? In all its forms. It is wonderful really that we have all these opportunities to re-express and reinvent ourselves.
Life is RIGHT. Life is beautiful. Just because it Is.
How simple, really. Perfection encompasses pain, shadow and light are in constant play with one another.
It’s. All. Good.