Earth Day happened this week and reminded me of the great support we get from this earth. It makes me think of Mother’s Day, when we recognize, for one day, the amazing gift our mothers gave us – life! It seems that our tendency is to take what is given and go forward, perhaps forgetting that this is all a gift, everything in this life.
In Buddhism we might use the word impermanent for the actual quality of everything in life that we can see, touch, smell, etc. This impermanence extends to thoughts and beliefs as well. For example, I once knew the phone numbers of all my close friends. That information is gone! I once believed that I would always eat like a vegetarian. This belief is also gone.
Nothing lasts, everything changes, and yet this is all we have. All of you reading this email have the luxury of exposure to the teachings of yoga. How did we all get so lucky? The yogis would say that this is a result of your karma. Theoretically, you behaved in a way that brought about a generosity from life so that you could access this philosophy, along with so many other philosophies. Our memory of past actions is likely gone but now we reap the benefits of those actions.
Right now, we have so many supportive teachings. We could imagine them as a great river that comes up behind us and generously offers ideas of how to manage the difficulties we all face. This image was generously given to me by a beloved teacher, Sarahjoy Marsh. She calls it the river of yoga. This vast river flows right into us. The question is, will it flow through us? How will these teachings come through each of us, in our actions, words and thoughts? Can we take our gift and turn it into more gifts? I have a strawberry plant that was given to me. It loves to send its runners all across my yard – can I take babies from that plant and give them to other gardeners, to start more abundant garden of runners? Can I give away some of the fruit, maybe even just to the snails? What will I do with this abundance?
Maybe it’s enough today to just say thank you: thank you Mom, thank you earth. Thank you to all the yoga teachers, the yogis, the studio owners, the meditation teachers, the manufacturers of yoga props, the administrative staffs, the photographers, all of the practitioners who support this practice. I could imagine every teacher who’s taught me in my 30+ years of practice, standing behind me, giving to me like a river. Why not include my mom, too? Behind the teachers would be their teachers, and their teachers’ teachers, and on and on. Behind my mom would be my grandma, her mother and on and on. Our lines go back forever and ever, and none of us stand alone. We can neither take credit alone for our accomplishments nor suffer alone for our failures.
So what’s in front now? How will we continue this river of wisdom, love and support? How can we shine forth all of these gifts? Consider just acknowledging what you have, right now. Maybe take a walk and notice the beauty in your environment. If you see another person, smile under your mask or maybe smile with your eyes. We all have something to give, most preciously, our gratitude for life. We are all still here, right now. Like all gifts, this one is impermanent, like a bouquet. Let’s enjoy it while it is here.
You’ll find a new Support practice on our Practice Recordings page.