Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spiders and Yoginis

Today, one of my incredible teachers shared a quote that turned into a beautiful metaphor. Spiders. Yoga.

"A single spider is silent. They cultivate silence. Even the ones that do make noises will normally remain as still as they can, waiting. So much of what spiders do is waiting." ~ Neil Gaiman, "Anansi Boys"

Sitting; holding still; just being...are huge pieces of a yoga practice. The last four limbs of the eight limbs of yoga focus on simply being - pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (devotion) and samadhi (union with the divine). Meditation is not easy. Silencing the mind clutter is not easy.

Being present, aware and in this moment from breath to breath is not easy. It is easier to run, to move, to stop being uncomfortable and to continue to clutter the mind. It takes effort to breathe through tough spaces. It is hard to sit in it, whatever that it may be at that particular time and place.

As another great teacher told me this weekend - breathe in it and through it, don't just breathe around it. 

Back to the spider.

A spider spins a web with a purpose. The architecture and placement varies from species to species. A corner of the garage, between blades of grass, on a tree branch or in a blueberry bush. Once spun, the spider sits on the web and waits. It positions it's body and legs in particular places on the web so that it can observe the entire web. It feels, looks and listens. It rides the wind, weather and all outside influences. The spider waits for good things to come. It does not actively reach and search and exhaust itself trying. It simply exists.

We can learn many lessons from all of the creatures in this world. But today, I'll accept the gift of focusing on the spider, and do my best to sit and breathe and be. Move with the wind and with the river, instead of against it.

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