Monday, November 3, 2014


In a recent yoga class I took, the teacher had us begin in seated meditation with our prayer hands open right in front of our hearts—open to the healing that the Universe or Spirit may bring upon us. I felt my throat close up, my face lower into my hands, and I began crying. I had been running around, searching frantically for happiness lately that I never stopped to search for the emotions that had stirred up within me. In search of contentment and love outside of myself, I forgot to find the barriers within myself that I have built against them.
This emotion resonates with many of us who hurry to check the next thing on our to-do list rather than stop to check how we are doing; we are run down and, at times, feel lost. We are constantly searching for someone, for something—chasing life, chasing time, and coming up empty handed.

At some point, we need to stop chasing life, stop chasing time, or love, or happiness and admit that we can’t catch it. At some point, as Elizabeth Gilbert points out, we need to sit still and “allow contentment to come to [us].” Running around is, of course, much easier than letting go and sitting still. I have found this in my yoga practise, too, as standing on my hands is often easier than sitting still in a hip opener. The movement becomes our distraction and the fear of silence and stillness envelops our mind because we then have to face those barriers within our hearts and minds, letting go of control.
Letting go of this control is a scary endeavour, however, for those of us who “believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well—that would be the end of the universe.” We compulsively seek ways to control life in fear of the unknown, in fear that if we let go of this false sense of control, the birds will crash dead out of the sky.
As I sat in that class in stillness, though, letting go of the handle I had been holding against my boiling emotions, I felt liberated. And as I watched this liberation and letting go continue into the week, the “trees did not wither and die, rivers did not run red with blood,” and my life continued on. The emotions that this yoga class and Gilbert’s mantra appealed to me—”Why are you so sure that the micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential? Why don’t you let it be?”
Yet, as much as I believed in the beauty of the letting go, fear and questions still stirred up in me—what am I then to do with that energy instead? That answer came from Gilbert as well: Look for G-d, Look for G-d like a man with his head on fire looks for water . . .
Make it your aim this week to look for whatever it is that you identify as Spirit, the energy of the Universe, what makes your heart tick and connect to that. Meditate within its healing energy and love, and search within yourself for contentment that it will inevitably stir out . . .