Awakening in the Dark of the Night
The clock glows in the darkness, reflecting a small slice of reality. I need to pee. No big deal. I hear myself mumble an intention, “I am not getting up at 2:12 a.m.”
A few moments later, that which the ancient Greeks labeled the Fates descend upon me. In an instant they disprove the idea that I have any real control over my thoughts or my mind as a resentment rises out of nothingness.
Just as my head hits the pillow to go back to sleep the details of the resentment replay themselves. Someone who has been providing services to my business has reneged. It feels like a betrayal as it stirs deep in the pit of my belly.
I am not dealing with this now. Not at 2:12 a.m.
The Fates sneer from the heavens as the first resentment gives rise to a string of recent frustrations. A feeling of anxiety now appears beneath my breastbone.
I turn over and resolutely erase my thoughts with a few breaths.
A moment later the frustrations rise again unbidden. Crap! It is now becoming quite clear that sleep will not return. I stretch, debate my options, and decide to practice what I teach others.
Breathing in, breathing out, focusing on the feeling of anxiety in my chest. Breathing in, breathing out. Relaxing my body with each exhalation.
You are just like Sisyphus. Ten years you’ve been trying to get traction for this new business venture.
Now I can feel anger rising. There is nothing quite like a feeling of powerlessness to increase one’s frustration. Not just over the business venture, but over the mind that has now become an insistent inner foe.
I sit up with a sigh. Taking a deep breath I try to settle. I remember they call this time in the darkness “the hour of the wolf.” It is a time when our ancestors were most at risk, and therefore a time when fears can have their way with us.
Crawling onto the floor I begin a routine of yoga and stretches in the hope it will re-embody me and allow an escape from the unmanageability of my mind. There is a release initially, then the cacophony of inner voices stirs once more.
Screw it. Just screw it. I give up.
I imagine the Fates now grinning at their successful disruptions.
A moment later I am in the child pose, my abdomen collapsed atop my folded legs, arms extended onto the floor. Breathe in, breathe out, relax. Breath in, breath out, relax. A position of submission.
Against my will the frustration rises and the next thing I know I am sitting upright and cursing into the night, “WTF!” Anger. Non-specific. Visceral. Beyond thought.
I take a deep breath. Then unexpectedly the next breath follows more deeply still. And with it I can feel the beginning of an inner yielding. As the centering effect of the breaths increases I soon sense the softening of my eyes. A moment later faint tears rise. And I breathe into them, which encourages still more gentle tears, and with them I sense myself sliding back into myself. It feels like a deep settling in the pit of my belly that slowly sinks deep into my pelvis.
Suddenly my whole body relaxes. Slowly I ease back into the child pose, now relaxed and inwardly at ease. The storm of emotions has finished with me. And with it’s passing the voices inside have vanished.
I settle into the floor. Breath rises and falls. Rises and falls. I am home.
Eckhart Tolle calls it the power of now. A Course in Miracles says that in a holy instant we can be restored. All we need do is acknowledge that which blocks us off. Then, miraculously, peace falls upon us.
Seeing True™ in Action
Over and over again, we need to question what blocks us off from being in the moment, spiritually awake and present. How can we use the breath to move beyond those blockages?