Originally Published: APRIL 13, 2015 BY REMINGTON COONEY
As I sit here at my desk, the trees in my courtyard are now covered in a fresh green foliage continuing to sprout new leaves with the passing days, and tiny white blossoms sprout between them. The cold sun is warming this month; as we draw closer to Summer the days are lighter and lighter. In a months time it will be the lightest day of the year. I have sat at this desk and watched these two trees change all through the seasons – from my time moving into this apartment last Summer to the Spring at this very moment - seasons are something that I am still not used to, having grown up on the equator, hardly witnessing a change from summer to winter. Watching these two trees outside my window change throughout the past 8 months, has not been unlike watching my own inner transformations, as if my internal processes are reflected in the external processes of the seasons. There’s always an ongoing shedding happening in all of us, exacerbated by the winter, which slows in the spring as we too begin to bloom.
I really feel that blooming now. Without even fully realizing it, the winter is always such an internal time, for me, and likely for most others. Even though externally there’s a continued functioning of the body, as we carry on with our day to day lives in wintertime, there’s always a level of internal hibernation. An internal brooding which then sprouts into new expressions, creative or otherwise as Spring arrives. This month, I prepare for teaching meditation workshops to engineering employees and a trip to Kyoto, Japan where I will be presenting on meditation in education at a holistic education conference. My internal blooming has manifested into some of the most exciting events to date.
And simultaneously, certain core doubts in the depths of my being resurface through this shedding and blooming process. For me, even the most positive of events can trigger the doubts and insecurities deep within me. As if the lightness of a positive situation also shines a spotlight onto my shadow side, revealing that which I am most afraid of. Perhaps this is what it means to step into one’s truth – to fully face the whole of oneself, which contains so much beauty and ugliness. I have heard many spiritual teachers say, it’s learning how to hold both. Some days I am amazing at it. I live the life of a 25 year old, evenings spent having fun drinking and making music with my friends, feeling very free and easy, and content, knowing that the next day I will be on the cushion (maybe with a slight hangover!) observing the mind’s dilly dallying and bringing it back to center moment to moment, or perhaps, on my mat practicing modified asanas to suit my inflexible hamstrings.
And then other days a seriousness will overwhelm me: a judgement on myself that I am not living the true life of one that aspires to teach spiritual practice – that I am young minded and confused and not disciplined in achieving my goals. That the image I present to others of myself as an aspiring spiritual teacher, is far from the man I am right now. Where this judgement comes from, I’m not sure. But I know that we all have some sort of ill-judgement of ourselves at times; we all have something hidden in the shadows that we are afraid of other people seeing.
The practice itself is about honesty – being gentle and honest with oneself as we go deeper into the experience of our lives. That’s why I now come back to my writing, and to this blog. I’ve missed my writing practice and it’s occured to me that I need it in order to be able to explore this light and shadow of the self, in order to further progress as a practitioner and simply as a human being.
I look forward to sharing further.