It was a few months ago now that I sat cross- legged on the floor of a yoga studio in Tulum, Mexico, or rather a yoga teepee, when I had my first and so far only, authentic meditative experience. I am not sure how long it lasted, when it began or when it ended because I was so unaware of time. The moment itself was liberated from the notion of time, an unbelievably uplifting experience in itself. It could have been five minutes or fifteen minutes, but I have deduced somewhere between then as that was the time allotted to us during the class period.
I had done yoga many times before this day, but the breathing and meditation part always eluded me. This time, 2 days into the retreat, I had felt my body literally sink into the earth below the teepee floor. My body was perfectly still. It was settled. And not because I was forcing myself to sit still, but because it just finally wanted to un-move. I have no idea how much time passed, but I do remember as if it was yesterday, that a large gaping hole, in the shape of an eye, appeared in the black noise under my lids. It was the longest moment of stillness and clarity I have ever had to date. And when I finally opened my eyes, my face was wet from tears I hadn’t felt falling down my cheeks. I looked around, suddenly aware of my surroundings, and nothing out of the ordinary seemed to shift. My fellow yogi participants were engulfed in their own breathing exercises.
The thing about that particular moment a few months back, is that I was really in it, the elusive moment I always hear to be in and enjoy, I was having it. It was transformative. It was so perfectly fantastic. So un-anxious. So un-fraught with disappointments and nervous energy. And then it was gone. I haven’t been in it or found it since.
I have always been a worrier. When I was eight years old, I couldn’t fall asleep one night because I was terrified that I had AIDS. Not understanding a thing about the disease given I was still a child I had probably heard a news story and concocted a web of anxieties that my mother had to alleviate when she found me and my tear-soaked pillow in bed. Another time I had worked myself into a frenzy thinking that I was living in a dream and that my real family missed me but since they couldn’t wake me up from the dream I was having, I would never get to see them again. Sigh. My poor mother.
It’s 30 odd some years later, and I still work myself into a frenzy almost on a daily basis. Outwardly people would probably say I’m calm and collected, but those who get the privilege of entering my private little world, are often exhausted by the makings of my own brain. I understand their weariness. I too am weary.
I am riddled with envy when I come across those who are able to surrender to the moment. I always know who they are. I am even friends with some. Their faces are relaxed. Their voices ring with lightness. They don’t seem to carry weight. And yet when asked, they too have problems. Of course they do. They just somehow manage to roll with it. Or they are able to surrender to it.
In my quest for the moment, I have come to believe that those who are talking about enjoying the moment, have missed the point entirely. Those who actually live the moment, are just simply in it. They aren’t talking about having it or where to get it, or the need to be in it. They just is it.
I tell myself almost on a daily basis to enjoy the moment, to enjoy the time I am having with those whom I love or who love me, to enjoy a beautiful day or a positive moment that I have while teaching. But when I tell myself consciously to ‘enjoy’ it, it is often because I am not. I am too mindful of the moment to enjoy it. My happiest and most fulfilled are those where I am unconsciously enjoying the airiness that comes without thinking. I would imagine many people spend their whole lives attempting to think harder, to be more mindful, to look deeper. I spend most of mine, trying to do the opposite. And when I am successful at the latter, I am happy.
I had a taste of that unbridled freedom in a yoga class in Mexico a few months back. It was a very small taste of what it must be like to envelop a sense of calm. And it was perfect.
I know that unless I can find a way to have more of those moments, more moments when I forget everything that I am worried about in that moment, more moments of utter surrender, I worry I will miss it all…a lifetime of moments.