Cosmic Bacteria : Imponderables and Aging

gate gate paragate parasam gate boddhisvaha

It's time for obtuse summaries, fluttery goodbyes, and absurd conclusions. My Encinitas stay is coming to a close.

However before the earthy, the stellar shines; so—macrocosm before microcosm. I read a remarkable article, (Where are all the aliens? ) that examines why we have no evidence other than mathematical probability to prove we are not alone in the universe. I intuitively favor the theory that we have no tools to detect alien communications.

However, mostly the article supported (my) imaginings about our infinitely vast and small universe. Could our mighty sun be a small atom-like particle? Could earth and planet be electrons? And could humans be "quarky" sub-sub-sub-atomic particles composing an immeasurably huge being? Could earth and humans be molecules or bacteria on another life form?  Could large and small be infinite in both directions? Consider this mind boggling piece of information from the article:
....for every star in the colossal Milky Way, there’s a whole galaxy out there. All together, that comes out to the typically quoted range of between 10^22 and 10^24 total stars, which means that for every grain of sand on every beach on earth there are 10,000 stars out there.
In Buddhism, speculating about the truth of the universe is said to lead to madness and is one of the the Four Imponderables. True to the teachings, my puny thoughts try to mentally grasp infinity, but it always ends the same way: I give up. Madness—only if one continues in the loop by trying to "get" it.

Now beaming back to earth and what at times seems like the petty concerns of a bit of bacteria doing yoga and trying to be "happy." And speaking of bacteria, I was invaded by a rhinovirus a few days ago, sabotaging plans for my final days in Southern California. The tone of the week, however, was set by Tim Miller who wrote his birthday (65) blog about aging gracefully. It is one of the very few writings that have resonated with both my winter body and spring mind. (See this wonderful article)

Tim Miller: reflections-on-aging-gracefully.html
The one great gift of the aging practice in regards to asana practice is this: the longer you practice, the better the quality of attention that you bring to the practice. Isn’t this what it’s all about anyway? — Tim Miller
Saw an excellent healer/Japanese-style acupuncturist, Janie (an Ashtangi), twice this week. Among many other things, we talked about aging. Does age make us more prone to injury and slower to heal? Although some generalizations can be made, every body is different. I started this Ashtanga practice comparatively recently—four years ago, so I am going to be different from someone who has been practicing from 10 to 40 years or more. What I am exploring (the hard way, via injury) is what my limits are. And maybe that's the issue for all of us. How hard do we push? When do we need to have compassion for ourselves? I am discovering the line between pushing through and pulling back (without guilt.) Then today I saw this lovely Iyengar quote:

Even as the body ages and is able to do less, there are subtleties that reveal themselves, which would be invisible to younger more athletic bodies. You have to create love and affection for your body for what it can do for you. Love must be incarnated in the smallest pore of the skin, the smallest cell of the body, to make them intelligent so they can collaborate with all the other ones, in the big republic of the body. - BKS Iyengar
And by loving the smallest cells of our bodies are we not simultaneously loving everything else including the largest "cells" of the universe (and all others)?

Tomorrow is a moon day. I plan to take rest and to watch Luna's round luminosity move toward Moonlight Beach.

May all your suns and moons be imponderably perfect.
  And this too is yoga.


(Gone, gone, gone to the Other Shore, attained the Other Shore having never left)



seeing the light (milkweed seed)

a milkweed seed (photo by Jeff Goldberg)

Don't know why I feel light.
My Mysore practice was aborted this morning. It was a mess. Could feel that the SI-femur joint had slipped out again, so back and shoulder movements hurt and had to be restricted.  (Wished for my rubber mallet to bang it back in.)

Why I feel light
Tomorrow I will see chiropractor and get my joints back into gear. Andrew Hillam is sensitive and wise!  His teaching reflects and channels Sharath's compassion and care. My practice feels much improved, and I feel so much better since coming here that I am doing a happy dance/asana!

Don't know why I feel light.
After the dreams and meditation on the irretrievable (1/26/16 post), I was revisited by three separate, painful memories relating to my mother, a friend, and a student—where I was a screen for their projections.
It seems there is a type of wound unique to us as individuals. Perhaps because it is an injury that has recurred for generations or incarnations, it always cuts deep. I met a young woman at Deer Park a few weeks ago who was clearly suffering. The details she shared involved a problem with her boss, resulting in her being fired—though that was not the source of her pain. She was hurt by how her boss had treated and spoken to her. Recognizing the depth and quality of her suffering in myself, I also saw the particulars as unique to her.
When the day's sessions ended, I looked for her, wanting very much to give her a hug and good wishes. Heartache that I was unable to find her. 

Why I feel light.
Like most people, without knowing it, I block emotional hurt. My own revisiting painful episodes was different this time. Observed straight on, it was not pleasant; and while there was a strong (even nauseous) urge to turn away, I was able to allow it to be. Am I healed? Don't know. But like a traveler who has lost her luggage, I am vulnerable, durable, and much much lighter.
Dear Deer Park woman, may your path forever more be filled with love and peace.     
Why I feel light.
It is a glorious day, going to be 78 degrees in Encinitas. The Super Bowl will be on later, so I will have a quiet time beaching at the ocean today. The thought of a vegan meal at Native Foods and talk with friend C makes me smile. 

I feel light.
Also ideas for a new project are floating up—Monarch butterflies and milkweed seeds are filling my brain—with delicate, simple and elegant themes.

Feel light

milkweed seeds fan out
floating light hearted ahead 
emptiness a head
Substitute "life" for "yoga" and "practice":
When we start yoga we experience many things—ups and downs in our practice. If there is pain, enjoy the pain also... Experience both good and bad: take sukkha* and dukkha* equally. —Sharath Jois
**Sanskrit: happiness and suffering  

May all the worlds be free of suffering. 

by Jean Valentine

In blue-green air & water God
you have come back for us,
to our fiberglass boat.

You have come back for us & I’m afraid.
(But you never left.)

Great sadness at harms.
But nothing that comes now, after,
can be like before.

Even when the icebergs are gone, and the millions of suns

have burnt themselves out of your arms,

your arms of burnt air,
you are with us