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Posts Tagged ‘mind as an instrument’

Hello friends!

It’s been a long while since we’ve met in here.  I hope life is being good to you.  Life, as always, is being its wondrous self to me, although the currents and tides have been a bit rough for the taking.  I lost my father back in October and with him I’ve also lost my focus and equilibrium.  Ours was not an easy relationship, to be sure.  He was the one person I railed against the hardest.  As a result of his suffering from a lifetime of chronic and deep depression, I spent most of my life trying to shake him awake, kick him awake, love him awake.  Each dip into the black abyss of mental illness was another death, another funeral, another goodbye; I’ve buried my father a million times over.

Ironically, it’s my relationship with this man that has been my strongest motivation to follow the path of Yoga.  I didn’t want to be like him.  I didn’t want to keep falling and falling and falling into the trap of my own sick mind.  I didn’t want to get stuck to the spot, twisting and turning, and noticing only menacing darkness and warped thoughts.  I didn’t want my body to fall sick because of the misguidance of the mind.  I didn’t want my loved ones to have to bury me over and over again.  I didn’t want to miss out on LIFE, something so precious and fleeting, and something so often overlooked.  Watching my father’s suffering is what has kept me here, doing this often difficult and painful work.  So, in a way, my unhealthy relationship with a sick man has been a blessing in disguise.  Thank you, although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

One strangely warm November day, after K. and I had finished stringing even more Christmas lights around the house, we were sitting on the back deck, admiring our work.  Lights bring us joy, especially during the dark, cold months of winter, so we have them everywhere (LED, of course, says K. 🙂 )  Along with the lights, I found myself lighting candle after candle as soon as the sky grew dim.  That warm November day, when the lights came on outside, and K. and I sat smiling, enjoying the simple beauty of colours and light, I heard myself say, “It’s like Life, isn’t it?  We have to be able to spark our own light.  We have to know that we can!  We have to go out and make the effort to turn the light on.  No one can do it for us.  We have to walk ourselves over to the switch and make it happen.  I wish my father had known this.”

Yogis would argue that there is nothing we actually have to do.  They would teach instead that the light is our pure essence and always there.  What has happened is that our own perceptions have dimmed so we can no longer see properly, like the sky on a cloudy day.  The clouds do not obliterate the existence of the sun.  The sun is always there.  We need only to know this deep inside, to know that the clouds are temporary and that they will pass in due course.  What we have to do is create an appropriate environment within ourselves that will allow us to notice when the sky becomes clear again, to notice the sun, and recognize the truth of how things really are.

Too many of us think clouds are real and solid and permanent.  Because of this, it is helpful to start the active practice of sparking our own lights.  To make the effort to go to the switch and turn the light on.  To strike the match, or spark the lighter, and set the candle on fire.  Then we can observe and remind ourselves of the old and ancient refrain, “As without, so within.”  Let the outer environment, light and bright, become my inner environment.  Let me reconnect with my already-existent inner flame.  Let me notice.

I have wishes and prayers for all of us.  I pray that we stop thinking that Life is something that happens to us, like it’s out to get us and we’re somehow victims of the ebb and flow of all that is natural.  I pray that we find the courage and strength to redirect the energy we use to escape reality, and turn it towards our own healing (Does it take as much energy to turn on the TV with the remote and stare off into space as it does to light a candle and observe it for a short time?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Try it and see.)  I pray that we’re all able to see how our own descents into madness (We all do it.) harm those around us, and that we love them and ourselves enough to do what it takes to rise again.  I pray even harder that we understand we can rise, and that we’re worthy of the effort it takes to make it happen.  I pray that we realize that the mind is merely an instrument, that it most definitely does not run the show.  Something deeper is responsible for that!  Most of all, I hope we all manage to spark our own flames, over and over again.

Can I interest you in a lighter?

With all of my love,

Tabitha

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