As we bring in 2013, we are all faced with the same things we face every year: what do we need to get rid of? and what do we want to bring into our lives? This is the process, perhaps this year heightened with the auspiciousness of 2012 and the Mayan calendar ending, or maybe not, but one way or another we are called upon to look at ourselves for this moment and pay attention. As yogis, we are likely constantly experiencing this "new year" revelation; opening up the box, looking at what's inside, maybe dealing with it, maybe closing the lid again for another year to pass… but every time we get on our mat and breathe it is an opportunity to release that which is no longer serving us and to bring in new energy. I always suggest to people to bring in space, more room within.
When I was in India, I had the opportunity to go to Maharishi Maresh's ashram in Rishikesh that is famously known for the Beatles' stay there (and it's rumored they wrote the White Album in that very space!) Closed now, and slightly hazardous to visit, a few rupees to the guard on duty will pretty much get you in. The first structures you come upon are these little dome "apartments" with 2 stories, but just one little, round room in each story. They are magical. You walk down a tiny, winding staircase and come into the next room. I could instantly imagine myself meditating in the space. Being open in the space. After reveling and relishing for a while on the bottom floor, I went back up to the top room and something suddenly struck me…You can't put anything in this space! The squares and angles that we are so accustomed to in our homes and rooms are where we store things. Where do you put the stuff you are not using in this space? You already know the answer, I am sure….YOU DON'T. Yes, that's right. You don't have stuff that you are not using, so you don't need to store it. Now, I have been on this path for a while and that has included quite a few physical clearings of my space. Getting rid of stuff I don't need anymore, paring down, living on less. Yet, with all the clearing, I often find myself bringing home new things. Somehow, my angles are always full, my squares are rounded out by stuff, my things are everywhere. Even the most non-materialistic of us, is saving magazines, rocks, books, old tiaras, and who knows what else we might need, to remind us of a feeling we once had, or a play we were once in, or for a play we might someday be in.
The thing is, if we live in a space full of stuff, are minds are likely full of excess stuff too. As often as we meditate, or not, we still have things hiding in the corners of our mind. Our heads are round, like the ashram huts, but we make them square so we can store our junk. We are addicted to storing. It must be left over from our lives as bears, squirrels and other creatures who needed to store up for winter. I guess in Little House on the Prairie they also had to store up for winter. But we don't need to do that anymore, so we are not storing survival food in our corners, we are storing stuff we will likely never use, stuff that is probably better for us not to use. Stuff we don't need Now. And if we don't need it now, will we ever need it at all? If not, then can it not be obtained at the time of want and if not, then it doesn't really matter because it isn't a need. So my thoughts today for all of us are to release it all. Let it go. Not just your fears, inhibitions, habits and angers, but your stuff. The stuff you don't need. And don't buy new stuff. Don't fill the space immediately with the new version of what you just threw out. Leave it empty. Meditate in it. Be in it. Let it be.
Thirty spokes converge on a single hub,
but it is in the space where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the cart lies.
Clay is molded to make a pot,
but it is in the space where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the clay pot lies.
Cut out doors and windows to make a room,
but it is in the spaces where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the room lies.
Benefit may be derived from something,
but it is in nothing that we find usefulness.
Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching
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