Nonduality

Today is my day off from practice, so nothing to say about practice except: I love the day off and need it, but geez, I know I’m gonna pay in extra stiffness tomorrow.

Okay, since there is a house full of laundry and cleaning to do, let’s turn to The Heart of Awareness: A Translation of the Ashtavakra.

First off, a little Wikipedia definition of terms:

The Ashtavakra Gita (Song of Ashtavakra) is an influential nondualist Hindu text traditionally said to have been written by the Sage Ashtavakra, though its authorship is not known with certainty.

Alrighty then.

Here is a verse from the section entitled The Self:

Meditate on the Self.
One without two,
Exalted awareness.

Give up the illusion
Of the separate self.

Give up the feeling,
Within or without,
That you are this or that.

Evocative, yes? Give up the feeling / Within or without / That you are this or that.

This or that, I think, is what finally brought me to zen, and then to Ashtanga. My beliefs about who I was and what I did and how I was valuable in the world were just getting so entrenched, so complicated, so much like a little prison I’d constructed for myself. Of course–duh!–I am not past creating and perceiving myself as a separate, busy little construct. But practice seems to make the scaffolding a little looser, awareness of the construct a little less unconscious, the ability to set all that stuff aside and just be in the moment a little more possible.

Here’s a verse from the section entitled Awareness:

I am not the body.
Nor is the body mine.

I am not separate.

I am awareness itself,
Bound only by my thirst for life.

I’m wrestling with this one. I am not the body. / Nor is the body mine seems to suggest that awareness is separate from the body.

But then the next line reads: I am not separate.

Hmmmm. Well, the resolution seems to be: I am awareness itself, / Bound only by my thirst for life.

I love that line, in part because it seems so alive, and in part because I can’t fathom it, quite. But I think there is something in it that is related to asana practice, to physical practice.

Ah well, who knows? Happy Sunday.

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