Writings

Smile


Dear friends,

This is Igor, blatantly occupying Jenny's space. A couple of months ago I wrote to you about the struggle of last year's final months, about injury and the slow way to recovery. I have since received so many signs of love and support that yesterday, floating in the water in between waves during my first surf of the year, I thought of you, of letting you know that I am smiling again.
Smile
My winter retreat is now over and like a bear coming out of its den I am filled with a mix of wonder and appetite for life. I have spent many, many hours meditating inside my body and my mind, healing and loving them, both through their potential and their limitations and although one can never expect any sort of conclusion from this exploration, the truth is that I feel different. Not radically transformed or totally devoid of conflict. Not newer, or more free, or wiser. Different. I have let life live me entirely for the last few months and she has done her thing while I did my best to not do mine.

The strange thing with this silent work that we do is that regardless of what the yoga marketing industry insists on telling us, it gives no tangible reward. Sure, for a while we feel more flexible, or a little calmer or even wiser, but life continues to put us in our place and as the law of impermanence erodes us day in and day out, whichever achievement we thought we might have gotten, sooner or later we are bound to realize that we never really get anything at all.

Zen masters insisted in telling the students that the purpose of Zen was none at all, that you sit for the sake of sitting. How weird a concept, I thought when I was younger. And now, I totally get it. As personality fades, it is most unclear who would be drawing any benefit from anything at all, but the simple pleasure of being present in whichever it is that is happening. As you become less you, life becomes you more and both your apportation and your gain is not yours but everyone's... and no one's. Strange thing to explain if you haven't felt it but it is an utmost clear realization that is bound to come to all of us: we never have, we never lose, we never really exist as Me or You. We are experience that becoming and passing, eternally, continuously.

As I was sitting on my board, waiting for the cold waves to test the newly discovered fragility of my body, all this was on my mind. What is to be gained, who is it that gains, or loses? What constitutes gain and what loss? And I realised that it is all indivisible, me, you, pain, love, happiness and suffering. All one big net of experience to relate to and rejoice in from this very humble vantage point of awareness. And I smiled... a different kind of smile, one that wasn't mine anymore than it was yours. One that was no one's. A smile that only was. And that I thought, that is the real gain from the practice! To be what is without boundaries, to love what is without reservations.

And then I thought I had to tell you.

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