“If you do something long enough, something will happen” – as the wise words of one of my yoga/meditation teachers at Kripalu said recently. It doesn’t mean the something you wanted to happen will happen, but of course “something” will happen. By building awareness more of each moment you can be a witness to what that something is.
Case in point, I was at Kripalu again for the summer and my second training towards my 500 hour license. This time the focus was on meditation and pranayama. I knew both can have such a profound impact on emotions and change but I didn’t quite expect it to do what it did. I found myself putting my “teacher mind” aside and diving into the experience myself.
A few days into the class we were practicing a form of walking meditation. We walked for a long time around the room, down the hall and moving fast or slow. Each time we circled I kept passing a table. To many it is just a table. However it looked just like the kind of table I had in the hospital last year; legs on one side, long and open to be pushed under a bed or chair. Therefore I found myself reflecting on the past each time I passed it. Not to mention I was trying different kinds of walks and found myself remembering when I couldn’t even do this much back with my mini-stroke and therapy lessons where I was learning to walk again.
Now I know it sounds crazy to personalize the table; believe me I kept telling myself “this is silly”. However it kept coming up for days. I was completely aware that I wasn’t present each time I passed it. I found myself ready to break out and cry ,and one moment I recall I was ready to run out of the room screaming. This day though I stopped and instead of pushing it away I took a deep breath. I found with the meditation practice I was learning, that it wasn’t necessary to quickly let it go, go blank or move on. Actually I found it better to be aware of that moment even if it was a bad feeling. I would tell myself “I’m feeling sad, or angry or scared”. It was better to notice the feeling and pause in it. Then I could gently let the breath be an anchor back to the present moment.
As I was pausing to notice the feelings, it did include being aware that I was too much in the mind of the past. How can we not float from past, present to future? The scars of the past are there in the present and even here was a reminder each time I came around to this table that it was there in my face. Yet I would just gently bring it back to the walking meditation focus of counting the steps. Once we stopped though we took a seated or laying down meditation. I was in stillness but I found myself crying and allowing myself to just be sad. My breath was faster and then suddenly I found myself slowing it down. Observing this place. Using the words “I’m aware of”. I’m aware that I’m sad, I’m aware of the floor, the sounds of the birds…” This place I was at right now. It was a good place; the room was peaceful, the people are amazing and I’m so blessed that I could afford to be in this class. So was the present moment wasn’t so bad? This reminded me that I could have those feelings but being so far removed from the present moment that I wasn’t aware that the feelings may be quite real but not true.
The truth came to me and suddenly I started thinking I wonder how this table came here? A smile came upon me as I started to wonder how I got here. Would I have chosen Kripalu if I hadn’t gone thru what I did? I don’t think I would have been on this path. Maybe the table and I met each other at this point and have our past that was in a different place, doing different things, but here we are now. The Gitta says that nothing on the path is a waste – even our failures or set-backs. Therefore maybe this was meant to be.
So many elements I hadn’t thought of all came from my meditation on this table. I started to move my thoughts away from all the table reminded me negatively and started to think about all the table did for me. I’ve felt punished by my medical situation and was taking it out on this table. Yet this table took care of feeding me, teaching me and even resting upon it while I was in the hospital. Maybe it was my guide on a new path. In this moment I was trying not to resist any longer and as strange as it sounds, I felt an urge to go up to the table and touch it. I waited till everyone had left the room and slowly walked over. Putting both my hands on it I started to cry. I know the table isn’t a living being but it was quite an amazing moment of forgiveness – to myself that I hadn’t experienced in my healing process. The table was just a symbol of this.
I am quite scared to share this story because of the judgement those may have, but I feel that it is right to just put it out there. If you find it silly just move on of course. However to those that may relate or understand I hope you find some healing in knowing that there are others who have had trauma or pain that have pushed it away but there is still so much to be released deep down inside. Meditation and growing awareness only helped.
All I can tell you is that after this moment my throat which has had a tightness on the right side for the past year unlocked. I felt it unlock and I heard the sound it made. I’ll never forget it. It was as if my body was holding physically not just mentally. I am so glad for increasing my awareness in my yoga practice with meditation and pranayama. Growth of trusting my own judgement comes from this and discovering that the answers were there all along within. We just have to take a step forward and trust it is right for us even if others find it strange.
**To my teachers and my teachers teachers - I thank all of you for your lessons. Many times you don’t hear the positive or follow-up. Just know that you are in my heart along with your wise lessons. I thank you for each moment.