Being connected is not a rational thought or just a pleasant feeling. It is a “knowing,” a deep and utter awareness of being part of a vast and grand scheme. We seem to only stop and take notice when we have these moments of feeling connected because for most of us, most of the time, we feel completely dis-connected. Disconnected seems to be our default state, the condition we are used to.
The nature of the modern age is such that the majority of our lives do not require us to be aligned with the cycles and rhythms of nature. Our society has evolved to the point that the seasons, the tides, and the weather hardly affect most of our daily comings and goings. We are fortunate enough to live in a place where just about any crop is available to buy at any time of year. We have heating in our homes and cars and offices for when is it cold and air conditioners for when it is hot. Most of us spend the majority of our lives indoors, inside of little protected boxes. We get into our car “box” to drive to work. We step into our office “box” from 9-5. We drive over to our gym “box” to exercise. We get back into our car “box” to drive to our home “box” to spend our evening. If it is too dark out, our boxes even light up. If it is too bright out, we close the shades. We go to great lengths to keep the “outside” (insects, animals, wind, rain, even other people) out there, away from our own personal little bubble. We do not want the outside getting inside. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these comforts, if we don’t make the effort to notice the natural world then we will resign ourselves to feel disconnected from it.
Ancient cultures paid close attention to the seasons, to the weather, to the moon cycles. Farmers still do. They know the importance of planting and harvesting at the right times of the day and year. As diverse as they may be, surfers and physicists alike know that everything in life has rhythm and is made up of waves. Like the Earth, humans are composed mainly of water. We are fluid beings. And like the Earth, our bodies are affected by the cycles of the moon and the movement of the stars.
So how do we get re-connected? A teacher told me “No matter how disconnected you may feel, you never really are. It’s always all right here.” Getting outside of the “boxes” helps. Just step outside: taking a walk or jog (without earphones!), watch the sunrise or sunset, watching the waves on the ocean, sitting in your yard to eat breakfast, stargaze at night. Do any of these things and pay particular attention to the sky, the earth, the temperature of the air, what the plants are doing this time of year, the smells, and the sounds.
Our yoga practice is a beautiful place to find connection. When we enter the room, we remove our shoes. Our bare feet touch the earth. Our hands touch the earth. Our entire bodies ground down and connect us to Earth. We listen to our breath and the rhythmic beating of our hearts. Like waves on the ocean, life pulses through our bodies. The natural world has rhythm and cycles: the seasons, the days, the tides. By watching yourself, you notice the natural rhythm of YOU: breathing, pulsing, living.
And then you remember that it’s not all out there. It’s all in here, inside of you! Humans are a microcosm of the Universe. Everything that is without is also within. As the Vedas say, “You are That.” The feeling of connection stems from that realization: You are all of this! You are not the small, stressed out, stuck-in-your-head, dis-connected person that you believe yourself to be. You are all THIS, as far as your eye can see, as deep as your mind can fathom.
So this month, I invite you to get outside, drink in the air, smile and make eye contact with the other people who are part of this beautiful journey, and rejoice!
“The small man builds cages for everyone he knows. While the sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners.” ~ Hafiz
Playlist: 1 hour Yoga Flow
(I am on a bit of a Cantoma and Thievery Corporation kick this month!)
Offshore - Chicane
5th & Avenida - Afterlife
Marisi - Cantoma
A Gentle Dissolve - Thievery Corporation
Air Batucada - Thievery Corporation
So Com Voce - Thievery Corporation
Samba Tranquille - Thievery Corporation
Shadows of Ourselves - Thievery Corporation
Maja - Cantoma
Only People - Cantoma
Down Slow - Moby
Everloving - Moby
The Time We Lost Our Way - Thievery Corporation
All That I Am - Shimshai