Sunday, October 10, 2010
This Life - Thanksgiving
I watched this video a few days ago and a couple of times a day since then. There are a number of things about it that are moving - the fact that they did this amazing feat, the relationship the parents and kids have, the ease with which they do something our ancestors would not be able to believe - and for me, something happens when I see the view of space with the awareness that it only took just over an hour for that balloon to achieve those near space heights.
I mean, I've seen space views before, but what this video did for me was provide a bridge between where I am now to where that place is. Other space views have seemed impressive but somehow disjointed because there was something missing for me. This one captures it and allows me to imagine that space so much clearer.
I'm going to bring it around to yoga teaching because that's what I do. I've often felt that many of the teachings about yoga are so lofty and so out there that people can't see the bridge, or the link to how they could have those teachings alive in their lives. A recent book I've found this in is Rajarshi Muni's Tenets of a Spiritual LIfe. In one part he talks about how aparigraha, or non-attachment can result in yogis being able to pee on a rock and turn it into gold, that's how non-attached they can get. Hmpf. That seems not likely and the teaching becomes not useful for me in having more non-attachment in my life. When we practice the yamas and niyamas in a more grounded, practical way, we can see results in our own lives. Simple practices might be letting go of actual stuff that we don't need anymore. It might seem really basic, but it can have amazing results.
While we're on the yamas and niyamas and today's Canadian Thanksgiving, we could talk about santosha, or contentment. Counting our blessings or thinking about the things we're grateful for can help us into a place of santosha. Santosha isn't the same as being happy. For instance, you could be dealing with an immediate loss in your life and to think you could or should be happy in that place is probably a bit harsh. What you could do that would seem perhaps more realistic and closer to what I think santosha is, is somehow be content or not suffering yourself while you go through the pain of the loss. Grief isn't a happy place usually, but it can be a place where we are content even amidst the turmoil of life's circumstances, we can tap into the gratitude we have for our own lives, for life itself, which brings us all experiences, both the unpleasant as well as the pleasant ones.
When I see the video I've posted here, I feel such an intense (almost double rainbow intense) sense that this is my one life. And that the way things are going on this planet, because yes, I'm on a planet as the video reveals, is just one way they could go. We have a thin layer of atmosphere. A small space where we can live as we are and not need equipment to breathe. In that space there are other creatures and gardens and lakes and it makes me so grateful to be given the opportunity to experience life on this planet, besides the fact that it's the only one I've got, it's profoundly beautiful.