So I bundled up and went for a car ride into one of my favourite rural areas that are so close to town. It ended up that I drove even further than expected as I felt excited and urged on by the sightings of Hawk and Eagles hunting, feeding, and preening.
You see, for me there are wonderful times when driving in my car feeling comforted in my seat, in silence or with music and I feel freed of some of the chronic pain that can affect my day.
This past winter I have being reading from the book, Freeing The Body, Freeing The Mind ~ Writings on the connection between Yoga and Buddhism by Michael Stone 2010 published by Shambhala Publications.
Michael Stone brings together several essays by intriguing Buddhist writers intersecting Yoga and Buddhism to offer timeless guidance and inspiration from ancient wisdom that can inspire us today to come alive on the path of awakening at this time in our western culture.
The following quote in the introduction attracted my attention.
"There is a fundamental affinity between mind practices and body practices because they are both simply curves in a grand concentric circle that continually spirals in, on, and through itself with no beginning or end. Work deeply with the mind and you give attention to body processes from breathing to listening or seeing. Likewise, when you study the intricate holding patterns in the web of the body (called kosas in Sanskrit), you end up seeing where the mind sticks, where it can’t focus, where it gets caught in refrains of old tape loops. What you thought was “body” is mostly mental, not “the body in the body” that the Buddha says to direct mindfulness toward. When the Buddha teaches mindfulness practices, he begins with the body.” Intro pg. xvii
The electric charge for me was the metaphorical reference to the ‘curves of concentric circles that continually spiral’.
You see, last fall I had the pleasure to walk an ancient path into a pristine valley. My psychic senses were on fire as I walked past historical areas sacred to ancient First Nation people. Everything has a presence, a story, and a knowing. I feel the pull and pay deep attention to what I see and what shifts and attracts my attention further.
One of the last places to pull me was a faded pathway that led up to a visioning lookout used by ancient youth. Silently I understood why as I gazed at a rainbow further down a turn in the valley.
I chose to follow the path onward down the other side of the lookout. The next pull came from what at first I thought was a circle of stones. However upon gazing for a longer time, I realised it was a spiral shape outlined by rocks. Therefore, I chose a rock and slowly walked the spiral inward until I arrived at the centre feeling the gravitational pull that tested my balance. After a quiet time I retraced my steps out of the spiral and laid the stone down at the end of the spiral.
The spiral symbol is a comforting metaphor that has provided guidance several times in my life and it helps me to rebalance.
I finished the book, Freeing the Body~ Freeing the Mind by Michael Stone at the very end of winter when the ice is still on the lakes. During my drive that day, I witnessed the immature eagles feeding on a carcass. It reminded me how the dead bodies of Buddhist monks in Tibet are set on top of a mountain top in what is called a sky burial to naturally decompose and the raptors can feed upon those bodies. So, the following quote in Michael's book spiralled in my thoughts.
“Where does the mind end and the body begin? Where does the body end and the world begin? Just as the naturalist moves through the forest with its vast array of trees and animal life, Yoga practices teach us to move deeply into the subtle mind states and energies that make up what we call “the Body”. With such an attitude mind and body practices become one. Pg 226
Michael Stone will be presenting a retreat workshop at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, BC in July 2011.
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