She arrived at the perfect time; the sun was just getting ready to set. The young woman laid out her towel, organizing her little space of beach. My husband and I stood near the dunes, watching the many locals and tourists of Costa Rica partaking in the ritual of simply watching the sun go to sleep. When I looked over to the neighbor of our experience, she was in a confident yoga position. The round orange sun seemed to be pulling at her pose, elevating her heart, straightening her spine.
Slowly, the idea of practicing yoga began to blossom. I noted her posture to my husband. He responded, “I always thought you would probably like yoga because I know you like meditating and working out, so it would be like doing both.” I reflected on his comment. How true, I thought. Why had I not paid yoga the proper respect and attention it deserves?
Perhaps I needed to further establish my meditation practice first before I could even open myself up to yoga.
I think that after about a year of experimenting with meditation and experiencing the benefits of mindfulness for myself, the concepts of yoga finally became more accessible to me.
In the midst of all this physical and mental growth, I’ve gained a sense of spirituality, almost to the point of embarrassment. Have I become a mystic? Is my new obsession with yoga and eastern philosophy a symptom of delusion? Who do I think I am, a blonde Caucasian Cuban practicing the eastern arts of mindfulness?
However, as I relish in Yogananda’s lectures and Manly P. Hall’s statements about intuition and invisible energies, I feel comforted while intellectually stimulated. Practicing yoga in a candle lit space, listening to spa music, I do feel like I am closer to some elusive but trustworthy transcendence.
Then, of course my spine will crack as I release a pose, reminding me that I am only human. Perhaps, it is my human-ness that seeks to feel transcendence and nothing more. Is this spirituality just a beautifully decorated coping mechanism? Yogis and gurus tell us that our spiritual essence or cosmic energy rests within our minds. Through meditation and yoga practice, one can access or come closer to finding this mysterious individual self who is also a part of something larger.
It’s so appealing, the idea of finding truth and peace within the self. This new goal relieves me of all material dependencies. Knowing that the truth is just inside and nirvana or a state of bliss needs no authority, key or credentials, frees and empowers me. So, whether or not a state of nirvana exists doesn’t matter; what matters is the lifestyle and state of mind that result from searching for it. In the end, acceptance and peace come from internal mindsets, not from rules, guards or fences.
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