Thursday, August 8, 2019

Entering the Heart Cave

And finally with much consideration and consultation from some of my most revered teachers and friends, I've decided to - at the very least - step away from my weekly public classes, for a sabbatical of sorts. My intention is to zoom out on my life to see the bigger picture; and to get into the heart cave. 

Maybe its a slow unraveling. Or a careful severing of an identity that I have over thirteen years shaped and molded into something I can lean into. (To be clear, the severing is the letting go of any attachment to the identity of me as "yoga teacher", and not a severing of my commitment to show up and teach yoga.)

My yoga life has everything to do with who I am today; and will likely have everything to do with who I am becoming. 

I''m also 42, considerably middle age. It comes as no surprise that I have arrived at crossroads. I feel as if I am at the end of a singular path, and now I'm standing at a juncture where I see a thousand paths to choose from. I've taken to Brene Brown's term a 'the midlife unraveling' over the more notorious phrase "midlife crisis".  A crisis would imply an emergency, instability and an urgency for a decision to be made. Sure, that may also be true for some. When mis-aligned, spirit will continue to speak until heard. It can feel like an emergency. But how I see it is this: it's the need to re-evaluate life. Rather then making hasty decisions that provide only temporary satisfaction and momentary feelings of youthfulness, it is a heart call to deem what is most valuable, most meaningful and to reflect those values upon every facet of life.  It requires serious carving of time and space.
Hence, the heart cave.

For me the "crisis" - if it is one - is coming up against the reality that time is not slowing down. In fact, it seems to be speeding up. It is realizing that there's no more time to waste on living in fear of being honest, of speaking truth (satya), of doing the things that live inside dreams, there is no time to waste on indecision, on confusion and on looking away from the all the disparities; because being disengaged, and numb only perpetuates the suffering.

Entering the heart cave.

Customarily, the cave is a place for solitary meditation and spiritual practices. Going "into the cave" signifies going inward into a place that is dark, damp and of the Earth; like a womb. Intentionally going in, asks that pockets be emptied at the entry, leaving all but the body - the vehicle of the heart and Self. Choosing to go in is equally choosing to let go of attachments that cause confusion of who we truly are. Attachment (aparigraha) is the ego clinging to something - whether it be a material object, a person, or job - that affirms and maintains a sense of identity in relationship to that thing. The thought of not having the thing, is death to the ego, which shows up as fear. Ultimately, rooted in universal fears of abandonment; fear of not belonging; fear of not enough; fear of death itself.

The dark, damp space is also a place where seeds are planted. It is an exceptionally creative space. Seeping with potential. The ego also fears this, because it is unknown territory. As a gardener, it's the dense compost rich with nutrients that is ready for seeds. When the seed is planted it does not question or fear the darkness. It actually needs the dark soil to sprout and the seed simply goes on to be what it is designed to be. This is dharma.

The heart cave is where dharma lives. The heart is where the seed of intention (sankalpa) is planted, and spreads its roots to every cell of the body. This seed is more than intention, it is an undying truth flushed with devotion and love, and is the blueprint of the soul in this life.