Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to choose, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity. -Gilda Radner
The Meditation Mantra of the Month is the word Namaste. My understanding of the word namaste has changed since reading Karen Armstrong’s book “12 Steps to a Compassionate Life”. Before reading it, I said that namaste meant “that which is sacred & holy in me recognizes that which is sacred and holy in you”. I like that and have taught it that way for years. But, after reading 12 Steps, namaste means something more like “I honor the sacred mystery in myself & others”. Sacred mystery. That feels more honest. And maybe keeps me more honest.
As much as I would like to draw clear lines and proclaim it destiny, I can’t make sense of who I have become, the relationships that dissolved or grew, or the things that I think I had some sense of control or choice. I am at a total loss for words for the incredible number of people who have received a Cancer diagnosis, even if there is some rational cause like family history, exposure, or personal behaviors. Despite my tendency to ask why, there is no relief in knowing why someone chooses to end their life.
If we are honest, there is so much more that we don’t really know for certain than we do. How can we embrace that “delicious ambiguity” (hats off to Gilda for such a phrase) as a practice that invites us to be more curious, more forgiving, and maybe more humble. Really, what do we know? It’s all a sacred mystery.
Namaste. Honoring the sacred mystery that is life, and all of life. Sacred Mystery.
“Religion is at its best when it helps us to ask questions and holds us in a state of wonder – and arguably at its worst when it tries to answer them authoritatively and dogmatically. We can never understand the transcendence we call God, Nirvana, Brahman, or Dao; precisely because it is transcendent. Certainty about such matters, therefore, is misplaced, and strident dogmatism that dismisses the views of others inappropriate. If we say that we know exactly what “God” is, we could well be talking about an idol, a deity we have created in our own image.” – Karen Armstrong, 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life
December seems like a good month to make a practice of Namste-ing in the moment that it is. In the spirit of namaste, the next Saturday Morning Yoga Retreat will be all about those Decisions & Unanswered Questions. “Practice letting go of the decisions & unanswered questions” is a phrase that I say during the closing meditation of every class and it always gets under my skin a little. I struggle to let go of of those impending decisions and all the what if’s, and wanting different options and answers. I chew on and chew back on those decisions that I already made and wonder why did I say that, or not do this, or blah, blah, blah. Who knows? It’s all a sacred mystery. The Saturday Morning Retreat will be December 29th, 9a.m. – noon, at Philo Presbyterian Church. The cost is $30, if that works for you. If that is too much, then pay what makes it possible – I mean it. Beginners are always welcome, but is most appropriate for those who can get up and down from the floor with relative ease. If you are interested in coming or have questions about it, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you will come.
Peace on your mysterious head,