Just A Feeling
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
I have spent a fair amount of time recently feeling overwhelmed by the world, as if it is pushing and pulling in far too many different directions for my liking. In conversations, I am reminded that this feeling is mutual, especially this time of year.
“Besieged,” writes poet, David Whyte, “is how most people feel most of the time: by events, by people, by all the necessities of providing, parenting, or participating and even by the creative possibilities they have set in motion themselves, and most especially, a success they have achieved through long years of endeavor.”
What’s interesting is that we are in large part responsible for the busy-ness, which is our lives. Whyte continues, “as creatures we define ourselves through belonging or not belonging, we cannot help but make commitments to people, places and things which then come looking for us. Conscious or unconscious, we are surrounded not only by the vicissitudes of a difficult world but even more by those of our own making.”
And so it is, that our lives are busy and that is stressful and that is also good, for that is part of why we are here. So with the endless list of options, why do we make the choices we make? I was asked this question at the start of a yoga class recently. “Why show up?” The teacher asked. And so I got to thinking.
There is plenty of reason to reflect and sometimes this process of reflection is more fruitful than other times. Some answers rise to the surface a little easier than others. When it comes to the practice of yoga, I am reminded of a favorite image. It is the image of a dog lying comfortably, as dogs do, in a warm patch of sunlight intensified by the glass of a sliding glass door which the dog lies beside.
Time passes and the warm patch of sunlight shifts. Soon, the dog wakes and stirs, now lying in the shade. Eventually, he rises up on to his four paws and stretches. Whether the dog is conscious of what has happened - the shifting of his place in the sun - or not, I can not know. Perhaps he even has a wonderful grasp of the physics behind why the sun is stronger beside this glass door than outside. More likely, the dog is moving and acting out of intuition, not intellect, or rational thinking.
The list of reasons why one might choose to show up for class is quite extensive. For some people, perhaps it is the explanations of doctors and scientists as to why yoga and meditation are a critical part of maintaining one’s health and well-being. It is wonderful that science is explaining the truth behind practices that are as old and timeless as we are. As for me, I feel closer to the dog than I do to the scientists, so I keep watching.
I watch as he scratches at the rug and circles around a couple times before lying back down, only a foot or two from where he was moments before. Once again, he is bathed in the wam patch of sun beside the glass door. Being the curious person that I am, I can’t help but ask this dog why he has moved. He looks up at me and surprises me with his words.
“Just a feeling,” he says.