Tuesday, March 11, 2008

yoga and milk

i lay flat on my back, the ringing of the Tibetan singing bowls resounding between my ears, filling my entire consciousness. i sink into the floor, belly rising and falling with my long, deep breath. Some days, like today, I have no trouble relaxing deeply and quickly into meditation. My practice was more difficult today than usual and pushed me to that fine line where hard work becomes teary frustration. i barely held myself from falling over the line. but the closer i get to the line, the more concentrated my efforts have to be. i believe this determined concentration is what leads to these deep, full meditations. Usually, my meditation goes in one of three directions. The first is distraction, when i can't fully relax into meditation, usually because i don't care for the teacher or there have been too many distractions (real or otherwise) during class. The second is a deep quiet, probably what most people think of when they meditate. There are no conscious thoughts, just the feeling of, well, being, i guess. being the type A thinker/worrier that i am, the only other time i'm not actively thinking about something is when i'm asleep, so it's nice when i can be somewhat conscious to enjoy it. The third kind of meditation i've experienced is when I'm lying there, kind of mulling the "words of wisdom" the teacher has just read (he or she generally reads a quote at the end of class, before the bowls) and suddenly having an epiphany of one sort or another. today, my meditation takes me somewhere else.

Back to my 2-year-old self. I am walking next to my father, holding onto his blue jeans. We are in the barn where we get milk. I can feel the heavy rough fabric of his jeans. i look down and see my own tiny sneakers, my short legs, my slightly rounded belly. I look at my small hand. I see adults, who look huge to me, speaking to each other. I stare at things I've never seen before: hay, cows. We take the empty gallon jugs with us, and they give them back full of milk. While we are waiting for the jugs to be filled, my father lifts me up so that I can see the cows at their eye level. The strongest sense I get is of this absolute innocence. Everything is new. Everything is an experience. It's no wonder that children are so happy and excited all of the time. Everything is something that has never happened before. As I felt the newness and innocence wash over me, happiness did as well. It goes without saying that life was simpler then. When I was two. Obviously it was. I lay there as long as I could on my yoga mat, letting the memory fill me, feeling as much as I could something that adults don't get too much of, especially when they don't have children of their own: wide-eyed innocence, joy in simple things, that feeling of being small and protected, of being lifted into your father's huge arms and of being shown something for the first time.

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