Last week, I left my little annex apartment in a South Californian valley town at dusk with a blanket and a hoodie, a flashlight and my iPhone. I hiked to a clearing in front of the garden and spread out to watch the end of the sunset.
I had gone inside to prepare some dinner right when it started, but the amber behind the dark scale of the hillside would not leave my mind and I had to go see it some more.
Of course I was nudged and so convinced to go back out! Somewhere in me knew I didn’t want me to miss the moon.
(I feel I could paint this sunset into a picture because of how it felt.
I have never been a painter… this is new.)
Then, I noticed a star. And then another star. And then another star.
Star. Star. Star.
And I didn’t leave. Hungry as I was, I laid there watching every star come out as the sun made it’s final tuck low past the horizon, dunked behind the ocean that was on the other side of my sight.
Never in my life have I watched all the stars come out. Every time I thought of my dinner, I still stayed. So patiently.
I was mesmerized – absolutely mesmerized and entertained.
And still. I was STILL.
Some constellations I knew, but I had this deep sense of desire that my mind would just open and I could understand the stars, see all the patterns, know the stories. A language I knew in my bones but wanted words. I felt this sensation rise to the top of my brain. But I didn’t pull out a constellation map, I didn’t Google anything. I just looked and was open, calm.
Needless to say, I slept well that night.
The process of staying still when your mind thinks of the next things to do is a very important part of yoga; a very important part of life. Guiding the self in a manner which is still – not busy – I have found offers deeper release of tension in the physical body.
Now that I am back home, I am committed to maintaining this posture of freedom and calm. By finding something to engage me that requires me to do nothing but sit and look. I think it is easy to want to develop thought in these moments. To think you can understand something about yourself in these moments. Or receive revelation. Truly, I think it is likely that you can make connections and evolve through a practice like this.
However, emptying the mind and clearing the thought – these are the things of value in stillness. This is an established theme in my life and that I am taking to all my practice – as a student and as a teacher.
Have a great holiday weekend :) Find something to stare at and settle into … erin