January News 2018

From darkness into Light’

 We have only just passed the darkest day of the year. I am probably one of the many who usually feel it is a long way to spring. But this year I feel the darkness strangely seductive. I love it when the bright days come along, but the underlying feeling is the pull towards seclusion. Darkness can be comforting, like black velvet, opening up a mystery, releasing the pressure from thought, a sensual way into the sub-structures of our sensations. It also releases fears, since we don’t know what the darkness contains. These days are a great opportunity to give ourselves more time to explore the myriad sensations that pass through us. Much of the time I am ‘blind’ to the depth of these movements. I am so taken up by the ‘habitual’ response to what is moving inside me, that little space is given to explore what I am actually responding to. But when a pause is introduced into daily pursuits, and awareness given the opportunity to settle into these sensations, without any predetermination of what they are, then the mysterious universe opens up, and starts to illuminate this ‘darkness’. This kind of exploration is what Yoga can be so good at, offering opportunity to spend time exploring sensation where it arises, which is within ourselves, within our bodies.

The notion of the ‘blindness’ is prevalent in the writings of sages from more than one tradition. It can refer to the unconditioned reality that the conditioned mind cannot comprehend, since this mind considers itself separate, and what we fear most of all is giving up this idea of ourselves. But once we start to become free of this mistaken notion of separation, then we start to lean into this ‘blindness’, into this ‘unknown’ and feel its inherent benevolence. There is also great compassion in this, as we are protected from too much ‘download’ of the truth until we are ready. So this veil is not really hiding the unknown, it is simply not accessible to the heart not yet prepared. The pull towards a kind of hibernation, or simple retreat into the inner space, however apparently ‘dark’ seems very strong at this time of year.

I intend to follow up this sentiment in the first five Wednesday evening Yoga practises of the year, starting on the 25th of January. The theme is ‘From darkness into Light’, which doesn’t mean banishing darkness, although we are moving towards spring, but more how we move into the illumination of its velvet lining. Simply that we can start from an attitude of ‘not-knowing’ so we can move with an awareness unencumbered by an already formed idea of ourselves.  Each practice will encompass one of the five elements, working from the ground up through the body. In Yoga philosophy there are five elements, not four. In order they are, Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether or Space. These also describe various energetic ways of being or moods of the body. Hope you can join me in this exploration.