We live in bodies that are constantly changing. We make new cells at the rate of millions every second. The mind as well “is a field of forces in constant flux.” One of my favorite authors, Eknath Easwaran, teacher of Indian spiritual classics and meditation, says, “There is no such person as Jim. There is only an ever-changing combination of physical and mental energies which for the sake of convenience we call Jim.” I really like that statement. There is a lot of freedom in this definition of self allowing us to feel fluid in this solid mass while living in a creative milieux that is constantly birthing and dying off. What an amazing design feature. There are no illusions in this statement that causes one to believe they are the same person throughout life, that one can never change, that this is who I am. We are, by the mere fact of being in a body, constant change with moment to moment opportunity for growth.
That awareness brings me to yoga. I returned today to a practice of a 1/2 hour of yoga once or twice a week. I drifted away last year as I prepared for the Camino. No, it does not make sense but I fought with my mind so many times to take the time to enter my yoga practice that I gave in to giving the time over to walking and upper body weight training, preparing for a big walk. Yes, counter intuitive as yoga does all of the above, but here I am trying to get this dear body to do what it used to do with more flexibility. I am now in a different body. Not better or worse, different, tighter in the knee joints. We will get there, my body and mind, we just need some time with a bit of patience and humor.
The point of doing yoga is to calm the mind and bring awareness to each movement of the body and in the traditional sense prepares one for sitting meditation. By day 3 of walking on the Camino, mostly in alone space allowing for deeper awareness, I found walking offered the same body/mind awareness as yoga and meditation and brought me to the moment of entering a flow or stream as I call the experience. I have experienced this in the past when working on a longer writing project, so deeply present in the moment that all sense of time is lost. Occasionally with art, but that activity is usually done, at this time in my life, with too many time constraints. I have not been able to give myself over as easily yet which entails allowing the thinking rational mind to rest. Moving into the stream is a wonder. When it happens, a gift. It is like finding a door that was always there but could not be found. When it is found and experienced we want more. “Oh, this is what it is to be alive,” we exclaim.
It is difficult to put words to this experience but time is not what we know it to be, the relationship to the physical world shifts, peace, calm, oneness, creativity, intuition, open heart, are some words that might express. Where is that door? We can’t rationally search it out but we can find it by allowing the mind to quiet and open. The mind, ” a field of forces in constant flux”, quiets. We all, by nature of being spirits in a body, have the same access, we just need to find the form that brings us to quiet open space allowing us to walk into the stream.
A stream and pathway in Padrouzo, Spain along the Camino