Monday, December 20, 2010

december 2010

(cont'd )..Certainly, there is always bounty and beauty to be had. Yet, due to the financial recession and the very real mental and life contractions that have resulted from it, this year has, for many of us, felt stark at times.

In contemplating what I might offer in this note, I was reminded of a yogic teaching about the tree in winter.
Spindly and dressed in knotted coldness, the branches of the Winter tree are attenuated--like it has been literally thinned of its life.
In contrast, several months from now, we will know the tree in Spring, replete with an aliveness that reaches itself out in budding sprays over its long dewy wingspan.
The winter tree seems to be just hanging on. The other seems to sing out with the very connectedness of life herself.

As always, yoga asks us to look further.
If we can see through to the heart of the tree, we will see that, in Winter, it has drawn all of its
prana (vital life force) close to its core in order to survive the harshness of the season. The same very aliveness that will dawn in the lush Spring, is being preserved, deep inside its trunk.

It is not, then, that the winter tree has any less life in it than its vernal sister.
Rather, in its elegant wisdom, the tree has drawn its aliveness inward, centripetally wrapping itself in the reserves of its life, steeping in near dormancy such that it may bear fruit again in the coming Spring.
The tree's period of deep winter is the womb of it's next spring. It must rest, turn inward, and restore, such that it might bloom again.

Our individual lives are, of course, enfolded into the same seasons as the tree's.
We need to go through periods of integration and even withdrawal--this introversion is a part of the natural cycle of life.
The issue is that we're so programmed to be aways reaching out into the world: working, socializing, making things happen...we feel like there's something quite wrong when we rest inward--it's almost as if we don't know who we are.

In the absence of full recognition, we are mired in confusion and disorientation.
If we can recognize ourselves in winter, we will save ourselves a lot of trouble. If we can respect and honor the inclination of our consciousness to turn inward, we can receive the deep nourishment of restoration.

If we continue to reach out when what is needed is an inward movement, we will wipe ourselves out. If we fear the starkness of winter so much that we can't receive it's grace, we won't grow properly.
If we can only see life when it bursts forth in large, bold extroversions, we are dessicate of the vital nectar of the winter's rest.