Been tumbling on the waves of a cold/sinus/throat thing… mixed with this strange concoction of delirious excitement/anticipation/nervousness for things to come + heaviness at what has passed this year on so many levels. I am reminded upon doing some writing, a bit of sitting and a lot of soul searching… that the basic ground of this existence, no matter the horrors or atrocities we see on the news, no matter the deep loss we experience personally, no matter our own feelings of ineptness or “not enough”… the basic ground is abundantly wealthy with the purity of primordial wisdom. Our basic nature is not flawed. Some might call this god or God or One or The Way or the Tao or Buddha-nature… but it is there. I don’t always remember it or see it, but when I actually sit and feel or when I read sacred texts or look into a being’s eyes and really actually look… it is there. This is simply our fundamental truth. Whether we see it or not. We still must fight for what’s right and still must hold our fellow humans and sentient beings upright, we still must sit down and work with our own mind. Knowing that we are basically good, that we are whole at the start the middle and the end should actually give us inspiration to stand and fight and hold up one another and sit with ever more fervor. And more ease. Can we do that? Can we keep asking the tough questions and seeing the humanity in one another BECAUSE we recognize our collective and simple perfection? I think so. So does Jack. 😉 #meditate #metta

A photo posted by Anya Porter (@anyaporteryoga) on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:27pm PST

It is possible for us to discover our own innocence and childlike beauty. Discovering the innocent childlike quality in us does not mean being reduced to a child. Rather, we become fresh, inquisitive, sparkling. We want to know more about the world, more about life. When our preconceptions are stripped away, we begin to realize ourselves—it is like a second birth. We discover our innocence, our primordial quality, our eternal youth.

-Chögyam Trungpa

The dewdrop world is the dewdrop world
and yet – and yet.

-Issa
18th Century Japanese Haiku Master
On the loss of his daughter

Stretch your arms and take hold the cloth of your clothes
with both hands. The cure for pain is in the pain.
Good and bad are mixed. If you don’t have both,
you don’t belong with us.

When one of us gets lost, is not here, he must be inside us.
There’s no place like that anywhere in the world.

-Rumi
From “There’s Nothing Ahead”

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”~Washington Irving

Shunyata, Groundlessness and Vinyasa

Groundlessness is a concept that Pema Chodron discusses a lot in her wonderful writing and talks. It refers to shunyata, or the buddhist concept of emptiness. This is not emptiness in the sense that nothing is there. It is emptiness in a sense that nothing, including ourselves, is solid and predictable. This is not some myth or made up story to get through hard times, it is actual reality. We can test it and see that our results are always the same. Nothing on this earth, in this universe, stays the same. 

For me the vinyasa practice embodies the sadhana of opening to groundlessness. We traverse from pose to pose with skill because we have studied the postures themselves. We prepare ourselves well for that journey by understanding alignment and actions in each pose. But what about the spaces between the postures? In the process of transforming our body from form to form can we be as present with the spaces between, those inevitable areas of groundlessness? 

As I prepare for my workshop today, I am reminded of this beauty and elegance of attention. Between each shape is a multitude of possibilities and that wide openness is the very same thing as shunyata. Emptiness actually means that anything is possible. 

I look forward to sharing this work with you today and my hope is that it inspires ever more practitioners to take “vinyasa” beyond the athleticism of achieving great stunts and many chaturangas and into the space of shunyata. Skill in action. Opening to possibility. Letting go of where we fixate and seeing that it is wide open.

See you there.
xo
AP

from Wendell Berry's Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer

Dedicated to my Teacher Trainees…  

II 

At night make me one with the darkness.
In the morning make me one with the light.

IV
Don’t pray for the rain to stop.
Pray for good luck fishing
when the river floods.

V
Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieve to see your house catch fire.

VII
Put your hands into the mire.
They will learn the kinship
of the shaped and the unshapen,
the living and the dead.

VIII
When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird.

When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf.

XII
Let me wake in the night
and hear it raining
and go back to sleep

XIII
….
Make the human race a better head.
Make the world a better crop of ground.