Wisdom tells me that I am nothing.
Love tells me that I am everything.
Between the two my life flows. ~Nasargadatta Maharaj
When I look up into the vast, star filled night sky, it is easy to feel tiny – almost like nothing. The stars reach out forever. There are galaxies, and black holes, and planets and star systems and cosmic rays. Scientists do not really know where outer space begins and our Earth’s atmosphere ends.
In my everyday life it is easy to feel like I am everything. Everything I want is important. What happens in my day can absorb all my thoughts. Things, events, words seem of the utmost importance depending on how they affect me. I can be the center of my universe. I can feel like everything.
Yet the truth lies somewhere in between. That is how Buddha became enlightened. First he experienced a life so full of riches that he did not know pain or poverty.
Then he left home to become an ascetic punishing himself and barely eating until he almost died.
The path to enlightenment Buddha discovered was the middle way. To live life skillfully without excess or extreme denial. Living a life of balance where you can take care of yourself and help others.
Yoga is about finding balance. Realizing we need to play with opposites to find a whole. Poses require us to use effort and our muscles as well as being able to surrender to what we cannot do and relax without letting our ego take control.
When I am practicing challenging poses, I notice which way I fall out of a pose. If I fall backwards, I know I need to reach forwards more with my chest and my energy. If I fall forwards, I play with expanding my back more and drawing more energy backwards.
But I find the pose when I find the balance between forward and back, between drawing inward and reaching outward, between focus and letting go. I find my balance when I remember to breath and remember that engaging and relaxing must dance together.
We realize that we are everything and nothing in the same breath.
I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky.
Then I awoke.
Now I wonder:
Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly.
Or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man.
~ Chuang Tzu