Originally Published: February 19, 2014 by remingtoncooney |
In my last post, written a couple of months ago now, I wrote of how my life was in a point of transition – a gap had formed between past completions and future plans as I waited (and am still waiting) to hear back from universities in regards to graduate programs. I’ve also been trying to decide whether I should continue a life in Canada.
I wrote about how it was this gap, this period of limbo, that called for me to put into practice many of the things I’ve been learning and teaching through my studies of Zen, meditation, and yoga. For me, it was a lesson in how to sit still in uncertainty; how to accept the shape of my life at this point; and really, at the heart of it, how to be present with what’s going on right now, in a way where I’m still planning for the future, without been attached to the future.
And I’m not going to lie, it’s been really, really hard. Realizing this has been incredibly humbling. And it’s reminded me (once again) that to be present in your life and to trust the process in times of uncertainty, takes a lot of will-power and compassion towards oneself. It’s one thing to have a vast amount of knowledge of what the wisdom traditions (yoga, Buddhism, Taoism) say you should do in situations of uncertainty and/or difficulty. But it’s a completely different thing to really be able to put such practices into play at the times when it matters most.
Understanding this has made me feel honored to once again return to the beginning of my studentship. I may be “further” along my path, but maintaining an attitude of “beginner’s mind,” allows for a constant recycling of humbleness along this path.
Even a proficient Buddhist or yogic teacher will keep their teachings fresh by cultivating the attitude of “beginner’s mind,” where all activity is seen through the eyes of a novice. To wake up everyday and view your life anew, is a key teaching of the ancient sages. Everything is new – so fresh; you never take the same breath twice.
During this time of transition I also undertook a yoga teacher training, which I just recently completed. An intensive yoga training was a really fantastic thing for me, because I was having difficulty sitting completely still within this period of transition, so yoga offered me this stillness within movement. This was a much more flexible way to work with the anxious mind at this point in time, because the mind can stay occupied by focusing on the movements of the body, whilst simultaneously still focusing on the slowing of the breath. It was also great to be part of a Kula (community) sharing and training with warm, like-minded people.
At the same time, it was interesting to witness how, during the intensives, the difficulties I experienced in my training – in regards to fear, anxiousness, and at times, physical injury – were mere reflections of what was occurring outside in my everyday life. Perhaps this is why the practice is so often referred to as the “mirror of yoga.”
We all experience, times of deep uncertainty, whether it be daily, weekly, or otherwise. Eckhart Tolle sees the process of uncertainty as a gift. He says, “if uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”