Sometimes word limits reduce complex ideas to banal platitudes…
I love getting truthful feedback about my newsletters. I appreciate knowing when I am connecting with you, and also when I’m not. I laughed when someone I know remarked that they must come very easily to me, because sometimes they do, but most often they don’t. Sometimes I’ve abandoned three topics before I get to one that feels right. I’m prone to rants. I’m prone to anger. Very often I run into issues of word limits. I know everyone loves letters that are short and pithy, but sometimes word limits reduce complex ideas to banal platitudes.
In the mindfulness community these reductive or hollow types of communications (and practices) have been dubbed McMindfulness (cheap, fast, but not really nourishing or healthy). After scrapping three topics in the last week, (which I will come back to, once I figure out how to do them justice) I stumbled across a jewel in Richard Freeman’s The Mirror of Yoga, and so for this week, I will share something I didn’t write, but something I have definitely experienced, both in my yoga practice and in my writing.
According to Richard Freeman…
When we practice the yoga of observation and we pay close attention to something, there is a residue of clarity and relief that is discernable in the breath and is actually felt in the body. It is similar to the sensations you might experience when you have been struggling to understand something and then finally “get it,” or the feeling you get when you have been deceiving yourself about something and then at last admit to the truth; it is a feeling of relief, openness, cleanliness and joy. We experience this when we pay close attention to things as they arise because we are directly perceiving, rather than distorting our observation by imagining that things are the way we expect or want them to be. Simple, clear observation allows us to cut through our own layers of programming, preconception, and habitual perception. …instead of experiencing a sense of anxiety due to tension between our projections and the truth, we may experience a deep sense of physical relief within the body; the glorious feeling of the residue of truth. (Freeman, Richard. The Mirror of Yoga. Boston: Shambhala, 2012. P.35)
In a workshop at WCYR yesterday, Jim Nason asked us to honour Ernest Hemingway’s advice: “Write the most truthful thing you know in the moment.” My truthful thing is that truth is a feeling in the body, as well as an idea, and a way of being. Satya (truth) is one of the most cherished values of yoga (yamas) and it’s always more complex than it first appears.