This is the experience of yoga. Or at least, it’s the one I’m familiar with. The grace of remembering my true nature; the humanness of the forgetting that follows; the drama-chasing and living from my small mind in those spaces of forgetting.
Until the grace arrives again. And with it, my remembrance of my truest self.
In the Shiva Tandava image you see the dance of creation and destruction, the expression of concealing (tirobhava) and revealing (anugraha). We so often fall under the illusion of separation, keeping us from both our internal interconnectedness—let’s call that integrity—and our connectedness to all of life. What comes with remembrance, the glimpse behind the veil, is a vision of our fundamental oneness. And so the dance goes on, as we recognize, and fail to recognize, and once again recognize, our source.
It’s an experience that boggles the western mind—the mind that revels in progress, in a forward movement toward mastery, in a remembering that doesn’t forget once it knows. But that’s not how the wandering, wild path of spiritual practice works—at least not in my experience. Rather, it’s a pulsation, an expansion and contraction (spanda) that occurs over and over again along the way. I’ve found that not fighting those moments of contraction is the key to softening suffering (dukha). That I must instead invite the contraction, and let it be a part of the practice.
All of this is to suggest that whether you’re in an expanded state of bliss (ananda) and feeling your divine interconnectedness to all things, or feeling your “separate self” running the show, let it be all fuel for this practice.
For me, a teacher, a guide, a mentor, a committee of those who can truly see me is what grounds and holds me in both my remembering and forgetting. Those who do their work, who walk the path, who clear the aperture so they can see more clearly and reflect back to me what I’m unable to see. Those who stand quietly beside me in the remembering.
This is why we come together: To hold mirrors up for each other, to remind each other as we move along—sometimes stumblingly, sometimes gracefully—in this dance that we are more than our thoughts, our misperceptions, our dramas. We are every dancing body. We are the music of our apparently-separately dancing selves. We are the universe in which that music plays.
OM OM OM,