Rasa

(Rasa is a Sanskrit word literally meaning juice, essence, or taste.  It also refers to an ancient concept in Indian arts concerning the aesthetic of a composed piece of visual, literary, or musical work.  More specifically, Rasas are the feelings evoked in the reader or audience by the artistic work.)     

Your life, this life, not separate.  Rather, linked to all others.  Are you the creator or the creation?  Are you the central character or the chief spectator?

You are the witness, the audience, ever in the throes of each Rasa rising up within you.  Where is your Vismaya, your wonder – your Adbhuta, astonishment?  Ruled by the strange, the sad, the sharp and cold, the soft and warm.  Governed by your smile, tears, the metronome of your heart.

You prepare tea, walk dogs, read books, drink water from a clear glass, and none of these things are ordinary, though often mistaken as such.

The world is at once a utopia and wasteland.  I have watched bodies become prisons – the bodies of those I have loved.  I have watched minds become solitary confinement.  I have watched myself twist and turn, bend over backwards, push on and on.

Sometimes I wonder, will we not truly see one another until after we have passed onward and inward?  Such is the light of a star upon the brows of the earthbound.

 

 

Real Time

What have we been, in the very ground of our being?  What might we become?  These questions are of past and future.  In trying to answer them, we will not find peace.

Carry the wind of the present in your heart and you will never thirst.  You will participate in eternity.  You will experience Real Time, not clock time, not practical time, not linear time.

We carry bow and arrow but not much power.

Let us have no use for it.

There is no room left to breathe when we make too much of things, when we are swept into drama.  The drama takes up all the space.

The simple things, small things, have the most power to bring us peace.  There is space around them.  They are not so small after all.

Quote from Iyengar

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured, and endure what cannot be cured.”

B.K.S. Iyengar

Rungs

It’s hard to be sure

if you’re climbing.

You know,

really going somewhere.

As opposed to

just milling about

as if you were

at a cocktail party.

Who can say

in what direction

you’re actually moving?

Could be sideways,

or some off-the-charts

geometric angle.

Perhaps there are

no directions at all,

and we’re just taught

that an absence of direction

would be impossible.

Or maybe

you’re hanging on

for dear life

to the same slippery place

you grabbed hold of,

when you lost your footing –

and almost fell –

so long ago.

Cat and Kettle

Kettle on, I began my chores while the water heated.  I don’t mind winter’s darkness being punctual, but arriving too early is plain inconsiderate.

Before long, my cracked fingers smelled of orange peel and smoke from the wood-fire I built, with kindling so fine and fair it swelled my hands to cut it.  My tea, too, was smoked – black tea once carried with great difficulty across Mongolia, Siberia.

Still in my work clothing, I stood looking out through glass and viscous gloom, as the cat relieved himself.  He inspected his production before covering it with snow, and bounded back to the door, rabbit-like.

I retreated to the lamp-lit heart of the arthritic house to get out of my boots, praise the luxury of soap and hot water, and begin cooking.

 

Open Up

Sometimes we are born with deep secrets.  Secrets we don’t even know we’re keeping, until they unveil themselves.  Startling surprises.  So open up, open up, roll back the curtain, don’t close yourself off, don’t shut down, don’t do it.  It is tempting to keep quiet and lay low, but let your heart take a few lashes, let all the voluminous light inside of you come out before your inevitable worldly departure.

Contemplate the line between who people think you are, who they need you to be, want you to be, and who you truly are.  Let yourself change, stretch out, grow, expand.

One would think that once your heart has taken its share of lashes, you might retreat, pull back, run for cover.  Never mind this, it’s only logic tugging at you.  Go up and out instead, run towards the fire.  Open up the wicker of your rib basket and pull your heart loose.  Set it down gently, still beating, in the eye of the whirlwind.

You never know when you might see yourself.  Not a glance, not an examination.  See.  What you once could have sworn was solid now reveals itself to be translucent.  What once looked to be a pillar of immovable strength now strikes you as fragile.  So take everything they think they know about you, every last scrap of how they think you should be, of who they think you are, and just burn it.

Don’t be frightened, it’s only death and resurrection.  Open up.

 

 

 

 

Moonflower

I knew my energies were about to be claimed by a long stretch of work, as if I were a 1950’s shrimper on the Gulf of Mexico, absent from home for weeks or months at a time.

With that in mind, I savored every atom of reorganized dust, every particle of structured matter that made possible the summer evening spent in the company of two women.

August lay across our thighs, our chests, while we waited for the moonflower to open, and turn its head, and look with a new white face, westward.

I knew then, life was not finished with me after all, and that it may yet offer up something besides pain, if only another chance to see pain through clearer eyes.

So I drove down to the lake and slipped the blade of my body into the sheath of the water, thinking how so many things swell to an inevitable climax while drawing no attention to themselves.