By Turi Hetherington, Community Meditation Teacher
Hello! How are you? Unsettled, grounded, anxious and at ease? Me too.
While life in Bozeman is stunningly vibrant and beautiful right now with the mountains and valleys blanketed with every color of wildflower, the beauty is juxtaposed with a mix of uncertainty, fear and unrest tied to the COVID-19 pandemic along with the overdue BLM and social justice movement.
Life is anything but ‘normal’ right now, yet it feels more raw, real and interconnected than ever.
If you’re white like me, you too are probably noticing your blindspots and eagerly seeking out knowledge, education and guidance. As the saying goes, we don’t know what we don’t know until we know it. And many things we simply can’t know (like what it’s like to be a black man or woman in a culture of systemic racism). But we can choose to educate ourselves to gain a greater sense of clarity and understanding by reaching out to friends, books, podcasts, and documentaries as well as taking long pauses to be with silence and stillness. It is in the long pause that we digest and assimilate all that we’ve taken in. We can’t just keep cramming things in.
This is where the practices of yoga and meditation gain their potency. In the stillness we begin to see more clearly. Like muddied water, with time and stillness the mud settles and the water becomes clear. It is in this pause that we can feel into our bodies and heart, connect to our core values, and find compassion for ourselves and others. It is in the pause that we sense the interconnectedness of all life and can choose next steps and right action that align with our values and intentions.
“The basic struggle we’re all in [is] the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human.” ― Ibram X. Kendi
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ― Dalai Lama
Sinking into the stillness (of meditation) is nourishing for the body, mind and soul, and it can be a life saver. Over the years my solo, pre-dawn meditation has become a ritual. While the rest of the day may feel like it’s falling apart, with this start in groundedness, peace and compassion, I can maintain a more even keel through the day’s storms.
During these strange times I am also feeling the increased benefit of group meditation. To me, the group amplifies its potency. Just like joining our voices in sound and our movement in action, joining in silence has a strong, heart-felt quality of connection to it. And from the stillness we gain a greater sense of clarity and the ability to rise up together in harmony. When COVID-19 has us more isolated, this group experience is deeply nourishing.
If you’d like to amplify your practice I invite you to join me on Wednesday evenings. And in the meantime, take care of yourself and take care of one another.
iRest® Yoga Nidra – 8 pm CT, Wednesdays