Of the many epochs in my life, the present one requires the most sensitivity and maturity. All of the phases that led up to this (the travel and study abroad, the mountain man, the Indian yoga bumb, etc.) offer me lessons that are now more important than ever.
Family life can be really challenging. When my son looks me in the eye, it feels like even though he doesn’t necessarily understand, he senses what’s happening inside me. Am I really kind and at peace or is there something else in there? Worried? Frustrated? Lost the joy? His questioning gaze, spontaneous ecstasy, and outspoken disapproval act as quite a mirror for me.
One memory from the meditation retreats I sat years ago is how I felt that I could just sit there forever and enjoy the silence, the breath, the feeling, the light, and never really get to anything that I might not want to deal with inside. But when the responsibilities and duties of marriage and parenthood stack up, what’s underneath it all becomes fundamentally important.
So I have been doing a lot of soul-searching in the past few months, among all the changes in our lives. All this reflection brings up the inclination to retreat into the solitude of silence and meditation. So I enjoy the precious moments of silence Oliver gives us these days and keep engaging in the outer world also. What a learning experience.
Just a few seconds after his unwinking peer into my eyes, Oliver looks elsewhere and has already forgotten. It’s beautiful to watch him move on almost instantaneously after even the most intense struggle. It is so inspiring to watch him when he first wakes in the morning, so fresh and clear, as if this morning’s sunrise were the beginning of time.
There is a joke among Ashtangis that family life is the 7th series, the one after even the most advanced yoga poses. I am starting to see why, and laugh. Without keeping that sense of humor, it’s just not possible.