Feb 3

Practice makes Perfectly Imperfect

I’m more “on the wagon” with practice within my disciplines these days (yoga, writing, This Thing We Do), mainly because Some Fairly Serious Stuff is happening in Deirdraland and I need my full toolbox at-the-ready.

One of the most powerful teachings in my life comes from the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam, (if you can find it and are into this sort of thing, hunt down The Splendor of Recognition: An Exploration of the Pratyabhijna-hrdayam, a Text on the Ancient Science of the Soul.) It comes down to the Five Acts of Shiva, the Cosmic Dancer. Everyone hears a lot about the whole creation-life-destruction cycle.  However, the remaining two that constantly kick my ass are called Concealment and Revelation.

Deep within us, there is a place that has no use for the mundane joys, that’s untouched by the crummy fluctuations of our daily lives. It doesn’t give a damn about tomorrow or yesterday. It may say something about me that I can’t separate this concept without thinking of the song “There is a Light and It Never Goes Out.” It is a constant presence, from the spark of consciousness to our last breath; eternal if you’re into that. The universe is made manifest within me, and yea, it never worries about a double decker bus or any of that. It just IS, and it’s the part of us that encourages us to constantly seek to know ourselves, to unfold, to open, to connect. That’s the “secret,” the big reveal. We catch it in snatches: I hear the rustle of its wings when I unfurl in a sweet backbend, when I am moved by the tidal pull of my breath, when I am speaking truth, when I am standing fully in My Power. When my teaching touches a student and their eyes dart to mine, we share that instant of connection, our lights reflected in each other’s eyes. Likewise, when my teachers’ challenge me, when I find deeper access within myself, my heart goes supernova.

But we forget. Supernovae cannot sustain themselves, although even their remnants are luminous and transformative. The Pratyabhijna-hrdayam is ready for this, and intimates that this is part of being human; being Shiva; being Frodo, Parsifal or Skywalker.

We forget our raditude because it’s delightful to remember.

We do not see clearly until we clean our glasses and wonder how on earth we ever saw through fingerprints and grime. A dirty window dulls the color and light. Clouds obscure the brilliance of the sun, stars and moon. A veil shrouds a bride’s radiance, and distances a corpse from the world of the living. We forget how good it feels to take the journey to meet ourselves, and we fall out of practice over and over again. We fall back into laziness, fear or avoidance: the light is too bright, too much to bear.

Eventually, we find our way back to The Work.  We remember the way it feels to move in the world when we consciously take our rightful place in it. When we have our shit together, there is an ease and surety in action. When we take what we’re given and respond with conscious, premeditated action, we shine out like beacons.  It is splendid, this recognition.

ETA: The delightful Cora Wen says all this in her delightful, earnest way. Bonus: she says it in beautiful Ireland.

Imperfect = I’m Perfect

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