Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ring, ring, ring...

I recently joined an online yoga community and I when I was putting together my profile page I started typing the usual... I'm 39, live in Roanoke, trying to find the elusive middle path, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then I thought, if I were a dog what kind of dog would I be? If I were a color what color would I be? If I were an inanimate object, what would I be?

I'd be a bell.

We all have life passages that have added to who we are. Events that have created our mottled, personal patinas so that our egos are like the surface of an ancient temple bell, etched by the weather, the environment, the banging of the mallet, the human hands that touch it. Our outside selves are made of the stuff of the Earth; of iron, of bronze, perhaps even of gold. But it is the space within, the glorious blank nothingness inside the bell that allows it to ring. It is the negative space that that calls the faithful to prayer or summons us from samsara to the nirvana of silent mindfulness. My life has been shaped by many things, my patina etched by many forces- blunt, acidic, caressing, nourishing. It is tempting to look at the outside of the bell and think that this is the self, and that this is what made me who I am. Yoga has led me to look inside the bell. I now realize that my true potential lies not in beating against the outside tempered surface of the bell, but in the silent space inside, anxiously tumescent with the possibilities of the call.