Heaven on Wheels

kapotasana, pigeon pose 
think: dove pose

I've been enjoying the visual relationships between yoga poses and their names. Here, in Kapotasana I see a pigeon's poofed out chest. Too bad its English name, Pigeon, seems to chain it to ordinariness rather than reveal its true nature—elegance—because most of us (in USA at least) associate pigeons with the opposite of loveliness, maybe even with a large, dirty city rodent...

But check that beautiful, simple arc, the compactness of the body with more vajra-like qualities than even Little Thunderbolt pose. 
And is not a pigeon also a dove? I am thinking—peace, elegance: Dove Pose. 

A dove's calm, ease, flight, and gracefulness—were part of the joy I used to experience during the many recurring flying dreams I had when younger. They were always followed by the waking realization that I (actually?) could not fly. What? I did fly! I know I can do it... No, really I can! 
Although I haven't soared effortlessly through dreamscapes in years, I do still experience the same pleasure (and subsequent waking disappointment) of flying dreams. When I was running consistently, I sometimes dreamt I ran marathons in record breaking time without a trace of fatigue

What I have now are asana dreams where I do poses impeccably, confidently, easily. You should see my perfect Kapotasana! And the other night, I stood up from Urdhva Dhanurasana (backbend/Wheel pose) — dropped back/stood up several times. No problem! Who knew a Wheel could be so joyous and effortless? 

At some point in this happy state, I become conscious of lying in bed, still radiant and certain of my abilities. Then slowly, I descend from asana heaven to earth. 
These days I'm pleased to report my waking Wheel has some movement—but not enough to propel me upright yet (and officially into Second Series - viz: smiley face here!). While waiting at the gate, I am learning to accept and enjoy exactly where I am in my practice and in life, which may be the ultimate asana. I often marvel at the infinite depth and all encompassing teachings of First Series and of this entire beautiful Dhyana. 

And thanks to Aliya Weise, I realize Seventh Series is available to me and all of us every day! (Please see quotes and link below). My wheel of awareness (and karma?) turns from rodents to soaring heights; back to earth and to Seventh Heaven again and again. 

I have even come to love pigeons...sort of.

..... we should start calling any selfless act, any act of unconditional love, a posture of seventh series and see what begins to change in our perspective of the world.  
The hashtag #seventhseries should characterize any act that has begun to take us beyond the little self we see in the mirror, beyond attachment to our own momentary desires, beyond attachment to the results of our work. 
#seventhseries is a commitment to doing good work for good work’s sake. 

—Aliya Weise —excerpts from blog post "Deconstructing Seventh Series" 


Heart Pounds : Grass Grows

  the offerings of an unaided heart

Good will and evil have no self nature; Holy and unholy are empty names;
In front of the door is the land of stillness and quiet;
Spring comes, grass grows by itself.     
 —Master Seung Sahn

On July First, floodgates opened. It was the end of the big drag—the first time in weeks Mercury had moved free of retrograde. 

 small lock, monster handle
That morning even as I awoke, I felt blessed, elated. After several pleasant surprises, I opened an envelope containing an unexpected windfall, and for a couple of hours my spirits and imagination were in the sky. I set out joyfully performing various earthly tasks while envisioning down payments on verdant acreage and elaborate new art enterprises.

Later, pondering the reason for my godsend with someone far more grounded in financial matters than I, he quietly pointed out that the abbreviation "hz" signified something—something that was profoundly disturbing to me. 

How quickly things change. 

I'd had one head in the clouds; another, in the sand. Now both had been slammed together into truth: this manna was not from heaven. It was from the other place! Seriously distressed, I considered my values. What is right? What should I do? 
....an ethical precept is a question to be held up to the light of circumstance, an inquiry rather than an answer. And the nature of this inquiry is not so much the dubious enterprise of trying to figure out the right thing to do as it is an offering of an unaided heart... At the threshold of choice, the Zen Buddhist trusts this ancient heart above all other authority.
—Lin Jensen, "An Ear to the Ground"

Someone else offered Zen wisdom (above), and I began to explore. What is the unbiased truth about all these things I've heard? What is my "ancient heart" telling me? Can I turn this blessing/curse into something beneficial to others? 

 "No mud, no lotus," says Thich Naht Hanh. 

From an unholy place something beneficial and delightful may grow. Had I denied the mud, the possibility of a metaphorical lotus would never have occurred to me. And so my heart pounds with many sweet, resonating rhythms. Each seems to say what I feel: trust the heart's emanations and regard joy - sorrow, good - bad, success - failure—with equanimity—on the mat and off.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, “yoga chittah vritti nirodah”:
yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.  

When we start yoga we experience many things—ups and downs in our practice. If there is pain, enjoy the pain also....  Practice brings mental stability Experience both good and bad; take sukkha and dukkha equally—Sharath Jois