I love the message that Rolph Gates talked about today in “Meditations from the Mat.” He reminds us that in a vinyasa yoga practice, the posture never really ends–that the transitions are postures in and of themselves. So often, we pay attention only to the postures and not the transitions. This is also true in our daily lives. So often, we pay attention only to the items on our list, or to the activities we’ve planned, not the “down-time” in between. But both, Gates states, the posture and the space in between, are holy.
This observation by Gates played out painfully today. Some friends of mind are visiting for a few days. Our home is their San Diego stop on a three month journey toward their new home and life across the country. They had just finished showing me pictures from their adventures in red rock country, Utah, the coastline trails of Oregon and Northern California, and then maps of their next planned adventure at Anza Borrego State Park and beyond, to Joshua Tree.
We spend the middle of the day bouldering out at Santee. I did my yoga practice here also. Atop a granite boulder, I breathed through 20 or 30 minutes of vinyasa, only stopping when the sharp rock began to penetrate the delicate skin on the tops of my feet. About an hour into our bouldering session, my friend climbed back onto a traversing problem where she left off, and we hovered around to spot with the bouldering pad on uneven terrain and rocks. As my friend jumped down from the rock, her ankle was folded unnaturally into the hovering crash pad, and she sprained her ankle.
Suddenly, their plans to backpack and climb their way through the southwest were over, and we were all left wondering what would happen next. The lesson, as Gates might put it, is that this injury is also part of the posture. This “down time” has its own spiritual implications.
It’s so hard to see our “down time” as important, because as a society, we are so externally based. Only those items on the check list, or those items that bring in a pay check, are worth paying attention to. Perhaps that is why we feel so forlorn when our plans change abruptly or when “down time” becomes the focus of our life, such as during an injury. The question is, can we learn to see all of our time as valuable and find the spiritual implications and the importance in the space between?