Saturday, July 4, 2009

130/183 pt. 2 -- Into Emptiness

The day 182 meditation is about cultivating emptiness on the mat. Gates talks about letting go of expectations and letting go of judgment. In Bikram, there seems to be more of an emphasis on non-hording or non-attachment. We cultivate stillness between poses. We're encouraged not to wipe sweat, and to put away the hand towels. Some of us then think about getting rid of the water. Then there's the idea of not getting too attached to a particular spot in class, a particular row. In our studio, there is no advance notice on who is teaching when, partly because we aren't supposed to become too attached to any one teacher. And of course, we don't use props.

The point of all this is to have a practice that involves only ourselves, our image in the mirror, and the voice coming down to us from the ceiling. (There are times in class when I lose track of where the teacher is. The dialogue always comes from the same direction, so it's perfectly possible to come out of a pose having totally lost track of where the teacher is in the room.) Focusing only on ourselves, when things are going well, its possible to shut out the outside world, and become completely involved in the poses.

I think that's what Gates means by cultivating emptiness. And I love his conclusion about this process of letting go of everything but awareness of the present: "Into this emptiness, grace will come."

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