I have this vision of a pastry chef making dough. The kitchen is quaint and well-organized. Everything the chef needs is quickly within reach. Magic happens in that kitchen. Simply upon stepping into it one realizes that there is a vibrant energy of creative nourishment quietly present there. In this vision the chef is standing at the often used counter, facing us, creating dough. I wonder what s/he is making. Perhaps a pie. Mmmm, yes a pie would be just perfect, cherry or apple please. The dough gets worked by light, automatic hands. Hands that have done this thousands of times before yet are putting all possible care into every action; all possible awareness. The flour has just been added and lumps of moist dough are outnumbered by the fluffy beige stuff. The chef lifts it off of the counter, slightly at first, a few inches at a time, and then higher and higher up to a foot into the air. The dough falls back onto the counter. Now here’s the important part: the moist parts falls with an anticipatory heaviness, bursting with the potential inherent in an expertly made cherry pie. But the rest, the flour not yet kneaded in, takes longer to return to the counter. There is a lightness in this action. Every time the dough is lifted the small clumps are divided away from each other and Light is between them. The loose flour spreads and expands, forming a cloud around the chef. A Space and Light-filled cloud that encompasses all of the little clumps. The moist pieces of dough exist within the context of the lighter substance.
I’m applying this vision to concepts in my mind. Perhaps the greatest learning I gained from the Yoga Development Course was to allow Space and Light. Space for the Light. Holding on tightly means refusing to co-operate with the course of my evolution. Lately this means lifting the concepts I have of people I encounter daily and giving more room for new perspectives. I’d been hung up on how much a particular person needed to change. They needed to be less defensive and attacking, to generally see others more as on the same team as them rather than pointing out their every mistake (read: rather than pointing out *my* every mistake.) I finally figured it out – we needed to have more team-building exercises in our office. That way every one could see that we were all cogs in the same wheel and what didn’t get done by one person could joyfully be picked up by another. Instead of being approached with “did you get the daily audit done?” and my reversion to defensiveness: “No, sorry I didn’t have a chance” being responded with “I’m wondering about a couple of things that didn’t make sense on it” it would look more like this: “Hey Guen! Just so you know I happened to notice an invoice yesterday that wasn’t finished and went ahead and cleared it up. I saw you received all that new stock and put it out already, great idea with the new sale table in the corner!”
Random whimsical fancy aside, I excitedly told my idea to another in the office. “We don’t have team building exercises, we have the Light” was the response I received. Oh yeah, the Light, the standing meditation that rarely gets initiated in the office. Besides that, we’re not here for team-building, we’re here for ourselves and so to really get to the heart of the matter, it’s me that needs to have more of a positive attitude towards others. I can’t tell another person how they need to change to make our relationship better, the only way a relationship will change is if I change myself. I’d been the one setting up a dichotomy between myself and others. I’d been the one forgetting we’re all on the same team. I lift up these projections, these moist clumps of dough, and allow the Light to filter in between them.
Sun. Beach. Sand.
There are no greater pleasures than the sun shining in a sky dotted with fluffy white companions it can vaporize with a steely glare and me lying in the sand with gentle waves massaging the delicate fibres of my inner ear. And a vast expanse of mountains. Really, none. Ok, well maybe that peach I just ate with its ripe juiciness forcing me to contain the wedges in a cup, sitting now on my tiny balcony and a slight breeze rubbing leaves together making perfect music, spurring the rest to dance. As William Blake, one of my favourite poets from the Romantic era put it, “arise and drink they bliss. For everything that lives is Holy.”
I’d been feeling resentful that seemingly every Sunday, the day off for most people in the ashram, was a picture of the perfect summer day. Thursday, however, my usual reflection day, was a recreation of the unusually rainy, long and drawn out chilly spring. Today I have no complaints. I have only each blissful moment of the gloriousness of nature on a July afternoon. There are seven large daisies beside the path beneath me staring up with shining faces as if to say “look, we’re here, and we love you just as much as you love us.”
I’ve been choosing my mood lately. It’s such a wonderful practice. No matter what I perceive to be going on around me I can simply choose to be joyful. Yeah, I’m 20 minutes late for dinner because I was doing the weekly deposit but why am I here if not to selflessly serve from the Highest place in me, completing tasks with quality and awareness. So I go to dinner a little late. Perhaps I “needed” that time to plan for a hatha class the day. Well, guess what, the hatha class will happen. I don’t need to stress about it. That would only cause careless mistakes. Instead I put together the deposit with quality and awareness and it gets done. I’m only ever able to do exactly the thing I’m currently doing. I’ve given up on the futility of wishing I were doing something else. That kind of attitude only leads to life-long dissatisfaction and grass-is-always-greener syndrome.
It was with a joyful mood I gathered all of my official papers and spread them out on a dining room table after breakfast: I was going to do my taxes. I’m surprised to admit just how gleeful this activity made me. Sure, it was months late, but I was being responsible for my life. I would break occasionally for a Divine Light Invocation on the sunny deck and skip back inside, sipping tea and crunching numbers. It took a couple of hours, a couple of trips back to my room to retrieve scattered documents, and a couple of phone calls to order one last form I need to claim another 20 or so bucks back. The realization I didn’t have all the forms left me downhearted for a short moment before I accepted being 2 minutes away from completion when they would arrive in the mail. The internet was down so I couldn’t print them off the CRA website and though it came back on later in the morning, I accepted an almost complete job well done.
It was with an equally joyful mood I sauntered back to my room after lunch and gathered a few belongings for a sojourn over to Power Line Beach. Finally! A beach day! As I lay in the sand with ants tickling my legs and my eyes lazily eating the non book-report-list book I read I allowed myself to truly feel the joyousness. The simple truth is that this joyousness was also felt a handful of hours earlier, sipping tea in the dining room, punching numbers into a calculator, figuring out my taxes. Every moment offers an opportunity for me to go within, seeking out that place inside my consciousness whose silence is interrupted only by random bouts of inexplicable voiceless laughter. When I choose to tap into that place then everywhere I look will mirror it back to me and the leaves will dance to the rhythm of the squirrels’ chatter.