Tracing Your Footsteps Backwards
I think we can all agree that we spend too much time in the past and in the future. When reality is always NOW.
The practice of yoga and meditation is really the art of allowing everything to be as is.
Life is simply happening, rather than happening to us.
But reflecting on one's life; looking forward as well as looking back, has its time and place. It's the over-indulging we want to avoid.
We are in the midst of confusing and painful times. We are in the midst of the corona virus pandemic, and that has forced us into isolation. And isolation isn't good for humans. We are deeply social creatures, and in recent years, loneliness has been recognised as a major health and societal problem, with some countries (the U.K) even appointing a minister of loneliness to try to combat this widespread problem. And here we are, many of us single and/or living alone in little rectangles, with more time on our hands than perhaps we'd like. And since most of us have normal minds, meaning untrained minds, makes it difficult to own that aloneness. My mind is like a bad neighbourhood, I don't like to go there by myself, is a saying in meditation circles.
You might have asked yourself, why is this happening to me?
But it's not happening to you, it's just happening.
It sucks, I know. That concert/retreat/dinner party/holiday that you had been looking forward to has been canned. You might have lost your job; you might have lost most of, or all your income. You might be trapped at home with a partner or flatmate you aren't getting along with. You might be trapped at home with children who are frustrated and difficult for being under-stimulated and missing their friends.
You might wonder how long this will go on. You might worry about whether or not life will ever go back to 'normal' (whatever that means).
But how boring would life be if it was always easy? If things always went according to plan? If you always got what you wanted? If unwanted things never happened?
You all enjoy certain games right? Whether sports or video games or role plays, or the game of Tinder dating. Or even a good old board game? A game wouldn't be a game if winning was certain. In fact, you probably want to be playing against someone who isn't totally inferior to you. If you play against someone you know you'll always beat, then there wouldn't be any excitement. It would be dull.
Nobody would enjoy watching the National German Football team play against a group of kindergarten kids.
So life, on some level, is a game. It's an adventure. Unexpected things happen. Sometimes they may be wonderful, sometimes terrible. And sometimes, in hindsight, the terrible things might turn out to have lead to something wonderful and vice versa.
Who knows where this pandemic will lead us as a humanity? Who knows what turn your life will take via this expanse of time/space that might have opened up through this forced isolation and social distancing.
In some way, we all know that life, from birth on, is a march towards the grave. It might be a swift or a slow one, but we're all headed there.
But within the framework of birth and death, within THIS life we have now, the years we have, it might seem random, or direction-less. But when you look in the rearview mirror, you might find that THIS HERE AND NOW is where you were always going.