Many of us have experienced it in our lives.. The “something missing” the miss-alignment, and feeling that something isn’t quite whole. And we have all experienced the opposite. The moment when the gap is filled by a beautiful sunset, or the moment when two souls fall in love.
The alchemy of life is that this feeling crumbles and once again we feel lost in space. We quicken, and in haste, search for the next sunset, lover, or melody that will bring us to that exact place again. It isn’t about recreating moments. It is about those times when the unknown becomes familiar. On a recent trip to India I was surrounded by a culture so opposite of anything I have ever experienced, yet it was the most familiar place I have ever been.
It is like that the first time we see our beloved or birth a child. A familiarity that fills that space. Still these moments always end. The trip always has an end from that perspective. How do we end the cycle of samsara? (The ups and downs and cycle of life)
When we begin to realize that the emptiness is familiar too. When we quicken to be in silence the way we quicken to be with our beloved. When we become the beloved.
I think the buddhist have it right by speaking emptiness, which never sat well with me, being a “glass half full” kind of girl. In our rajasic(fast passed nature) society we tend to see emptiness as a bad thing. These teachings help create a familiarity where us as humans, but especially Americans are not familiar.
I remember thinking as a young girl that I didn’t have much time and that every day I had to be better than the day before, but in a very superficial way, like more successful or my waist must look skinner every day to show that I am improving.
We all have the inherent want to better ourselves and to be good, but we need to redifine what good is.
I have made peace with the cycle of life. Life is not as linear as we would like to think. We may not always make more money this year than last, or be more athletic or witty. But in shedding our old conditioned ways, we do have an opportunity to be more authentic, and more accepting of the cycle of the human experience.
Search for the familiar in all experiences and find comfort there. To end the cycle of pleasure vs. pain, we bring the bodymind back into a state of neutral. Like a mother craddeling the crying baby back to a state of ease. Seeing that all is sacred, even the space between that doesn’t have to be filled.
Here is a practical breathing application that I like to use to remind me of the cycle of life and the wholeness that it is.
Coming into a comfortable seated posture. Breath in and out through the nose, focusing on the breath along the spine. As we inhale up to the crown of the head, pause and notice that feeling of fullness and your relationship to that. Exhale down the spine. Pause at the bottom of the exhale. Feel what it feels like to be empty. Notice your relationship to that. Repeat for 2-3 minutes and try to notice if after time you see no difference between the turning of the breath, one continuous flow. Where fullness and emptiness are one.