Monday, March 16, 2009

Living Life by Heart

Note: I've written this piece for you. You know who you are.
Racing to a business meeting crucial to her current career, Babette’s mind was racing. Could her powers of persuasion crush her client’s doubt? Would she succeed in convincing them of her superiority and strength?

Bang, a tire blew out! Babette gripped the steering wheel as the car pulled wildly. Safely stopped on the desolate country road, she panicked seeing her cell phone had no reception. Forest everywhere, a small lake in the distance. Standing in the afternoon sun, Babette was furious.
Just how was she gonna salvage this day?
The reporter sat politely in the headmaster’s office, eager to begin an interview about campus life. Through the doorway, he saw a young student arrive with a stack of mail. The boy was obviously living with Down’s syndrome, his appearance and gate revealing some retardation.

“Good master, Sir! How are you?” the boy smiled broadly, placing the newspaper and envelops on the desk. “The snow is so beautiful this morning!”

As the boy left the room, the reporter shook his head and whispered quietly to the principal, “How sad. How terribly sad.”
Margie hopped off the back step and headed toward the car. From the garage, she picked up her pink leather golf bag, the heads of the clubs covered in hand knit, multi colored bags. Another day as the professional instructor at the Sand Creek Golf Club. Wow! She couldn’t believe she had landed her dream job at age 26…a golf pro, paid to play golf.

A few blocks away, Margie’s mother and dad sat sadly over their morning coffee. “All that education, and she makes so little money,” her mother worried.

“I know I could have gotten her a job at the bank, but she wouldn’t listen,” nodded her father, “I fear for Margie’s future.”

Babette’s mad.
The reporter is sad.
Margie’s parents are afraid and worried.

Because they can see none of life’s mystery, none of the natural beauty and joy of creation, they have mistakenly concluded that without an opportunity to strive and succeed, life has no meaning.

When we prize the working of the rational mind more than anything else, we lock ourselves into a fast paced race. Achievements logged yesterday don’t count. What counts is the amazing feats of today only, the grand purchases, the latest acquisitions.

So caught up in feeding the mind another challenge, we can't see or appreciate or celebrate

***the unexpected opportunity to stand on the edge of a forest and smell the balsam, listen to the running water

***the heartfelt joy of a happy child seeing new fallen snow

***the blessing of having a job one loves.

Instead, we strive and strain from one goal to another, wondering why contentment and satisfaction elude us. We can't figure out why we continue to feel a sense of separateness between ourselves and all other living things. We move from high to low and back again, mood swinging through each other's dramas.

However, if we confine the activities of the rational mind to the limited domain it has value, (rather like a toolkit needed when the toilet seat needs tightening or a door hinge squeaks) we create space for our heart to guide and direct our day. Highs and lows disappear, replaced by an evenness, a peacefulness, a serenity that is grounded in the constancy of the heart, not the tempermental mind.

In yoga, we do an asana, or posture, that requires a very open and forward thrusting chest. As a teacher, I remind the students to, “Lead with your heart.”

This reminder is not only worth following in the yoga class, but in life itself.
When we are feeling mad, sad or worried, chances are we are being bullied by our rational mind. Telling us that we aren’t good enough, that life is unfair, that others are out to get us.

When such negative energy takes over, it is time to lead with the heart, listen with the heart, and celebrate this great world we call home.
This weekend, I enjoyed some time at the School of Ancient Wisdom outside Bangalore. I watched Priyappa, above, milk his herd of four. Throught the process, a slim gray cat meowed insistently, crying out for breakfast. I was so happy when Priyappa finished milking. When he poured some milk into the lid of an old bucket for the hungry kitten, my joy was so great, I felt I was the cat! I experienced the Oneness of all life.

(Milk lover stalking her milk)
Learning Tai Chi from master Nicholas Packard was another moment of weekend contentment. How beautiful, to look around the plaza at such earnest students, flowing slowly and gracefully in the morning air.

One more image of the weekend opens this posting, the thriving tomato plant supported by young banana tree. Why not? Such lovely simple harmony in the garden. I seek such moments of total balance, where I can be effortlessly supportive, like the banana tree.

Today's secret? Use the Mind only as a tool kit, and live life by Heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment