Summer is phasing in and out, performing its pas de deux with Autumn as Melbourne heads back at a leisurely pace into it’s grey wintry world. For the long haul. A blast of cooler air here. Dazzling sun rays streaking through a gap in the clouds looking like one of those paintings where the Big Man In the Sky talks to the people on Earth. A sudden downpour, followed by warmth and humidity reminiscent of early January. The flowers and leaves changing. Darker mornings and a lessened desire to get out of bed as a result.
In this world, I’m finding my feet more and more. And my balance and inversions, too. And discovering that for me at least, there’s no other choice. It’s a little bit like Yoga Or Die. Sure, we’re all dying anyway – don’t you know that the main cause of death is birth? But for me in this life there’s little else that’s important, so it seems.
Sure, there’s my teachers and family and friends and books and dancing and music. But I’m not that enamoured of fashion, eating in fancy restaurants, big cars, having the most toys or anything else. Go ahead and mock my lack of a fancy new flat screen TV if you like, I’ll just giggle at the supposed importance of that inanimate ‘must have’ object or anything else you think my life is lacking.
A simple life seems to bring me more than enough contentment. As long as there’s yoga and chanting, beautiful colours and poetry, candles and easy access to gorgeous natural surrounds then I’m pretty much all good. And hey, is there anything I can do for you? Anything that you need? Being of service fits in right alongside my simple needs, too.
I know that I’ve been a little slack on the frequency of my posts lately. There’s been my recent spate house guests and also, dropping into what that Crazy Wisdom Dude (aka Chogyam Trungpa) called “gaps”.
Yeah, it’s a little weird in here right now and any time I find out that that’s where I am, I have to remember the secret of functioning effectively here before anything else is possible (P.S. one of the key ingredients is LOVE). But more often than not, I find in that kind of space I don’t feel like doing anything in particular. Not even writing, much as I love and rely on it at other times. Much as I’ve got lots to say and plenty of draft pieces lying in wait.
And I know I’m sitting in one of those gaps when my thoughts turn to the complete beauty and yet utter pointlessness of everything. Not in a depressive frame of mind – I’ve had plenty of that and I can tell you this is WAY different. In fact, these days I suspect that some of those episodes of depression were in fact, gap-flavoured. Maybe that’s how some of them started off in the first place?
Because the thing about gap-world is that it feels starkly empty and spaciously vacant. And more often than not, that makes carbon-based bipeds with a tendency towards awareness feel rather neurotic or anxious or both. What’s wrong with me? we ask… (The answer, actually, is “Nothing”. But we rarely believe such home-spun truths).
And so we try to work out how to fill all that space instead of just letting it be.
But if you can keep your hands and your thoughts to yourself, it’s a bit of a free-fall at first, and quite terrifying. Kind of like falling asleep in the way we renounce control of our faculties (which is also said to be similar to the change of the guard when we die) except that we’re awake. Awake and yet not anywhere in particular. But of course that can be frightening!
Slowly, like Autumn’s certain advance, I find I begin to notice this emptiness is in fact not empty at all. It’s just a world apart from the usual busy day to day-ness of most of the rest of the time. And it’s not so scary afterall.
All the spaciousness that characterises gap-world is like an extended meditation where nothing is the focus and nothing is the result. However, it does leave room for an expansion of sorts. More often than not what I notice is the size of my heart. It feels like it’s grown at least as big as my entire body, if not larger.
And it speaks it’s very own language as it generates waves of love and compassion for everything in this world, including myself…