Concentrate. To bring inward to a center. To focus one's attention or effort on a particular object or activity. Draw toward. Meet. Make stronger by removing the extraneous.
Focus. Increase density. Improve Resolution.
Bhagavad Gita, 8:13 --
After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets.
Yes, I'm back on that. It can't be helped. I have my reasons.
Being "resolved" or "resolute" is a matter of concentrating, of tremendus disciplined focus. In Yoga, it means focus upon the goal of exiting the cycle of life and death and fusing with Brahman, becoming an egoless wisp of the cosmos, a drop of brine in a celestial ocean. It means forgoing attachments. To outcomes. To feelings. Ultimately to your body.
Well, let's be honest, I'm rather attached to attachment, and if that makes me childish, then I want a damn cookie and I want it now, and no I am not going to clean my room or look both ways before crossing the street. I like being embodied. It has some remarkable advantages. Of course it comes with the promise of pain and suffering, doubt and confusion. Without which how the hell would you ever know what bliss felt like? Clarity? Wholeness, firmness of purpose?
Tantrikas believe in the body as a lens, a sort of telescope for glimpsing the divine. I'll never really be one because they also believe utterly that you cannot be one without pledging yourself utterly to a guru. And by that I mean genuinely believing in this other, human person as a manifestation of pure consciousness, pure love -- a god in human form. Again, maybe all this proves is that I will never shuck my stupid ego but the notion of bowing down to another human being as a god gives me the creeps.
Yet we can, if we are paying attention, experience moments in which it is possible to see that love is, in fact, transcendent, pervasive, the animating energy of the universe. Sometimes we encounter this in solitude, in meditation, in nature -- sometimes we learn it from our children. Sometimes, and sadly not as reliably as should be the case, we learn it in bodily and spiritual union (yoga?) with another person. This experience is represented in Tantra by the image of Shiva and Shakti (who represent the principles of Matter and Energy) in an eternal sexual embrace, fitted together like puzzle pieces in an act of eternally creating the world.
A word of unsolicited advice: should you ever, ever find another human being in whose presence you feel this sense of union (often it's in sexual relationships but not always) -- someone who inspires in you a sense of infinite potential, a cessation of confusion or pain, a sense of transcendence: do not let go. Nonattachment be damned. Cultivate the ability to observe your emotions from a non-judging distance, sure. But when you experience, spontaneously or over time, true unconditional devotion, you know that you are in connection with your higher self. Others can provoke or mirror this for us, remind us of who we really are.
Illusions fall away.
I'm not saying it's easy. Simple, yes, but not easy.
Concentrate. Discrepancies, conflicts -- they resolve. Everything comes apart, reforms. Reform. Focus. Optical illusion, mirage. Better resolution. Make up your mind. But stay flexible. We are tied together, bound, yoked. Enact your resolutions and know they can be amended or revoked with or without your vote.
When you find part of yourself in another person you are vulnerable to loss and to pain but the truth is that we are, having resolved to our essential selves, loosed the knots; part of something more than ourselves.To lose yourself in devotion is, maybe, to glimpse the true nature of the universe, which is (maybe?) ecstatic.
Yes, we are all responsible for our own feelings and actions. We are also connected, some of us more so than others. And let's face it, being your Higher Self sucks sometimes. (I resolve to eat only kale, cococnut and apricots, quit drinking, never raise my voice, always write elaborate thank you notes; tend lepers (at least they keep them in Hawaii now, so, hey, secondary gain city), sit in the lotus position for three hours a day with an unwavering inward-facing dritsti, and never be peeved, hurt, or scared about anything again; you?)
Not really. But when things fell apart for me, I know who showed up and pointed at the pieces and said "Those are not you, and I know it if no one else does. And I can know it for you until you know it again for yourself." And when I don't feel like myself that is what I think about to calm down. And when I feel most like myself that is what I think about as well. Remember when I text messaged you from the car that time -- it had been a hideous day even before the migraine set in -- and said I didn't think I could do it any more? You stopped my laundry list of idiotic complaints with this: "Look out the window. Tell me one beutiful thing you can see."
"Mars," I said.
"OK, that's good. Do this for me. Try to stay focused on that. Try not to think about anything else but what it looks like. For ten minutes. Then call me back. OK?"
"OK," I said, and dutifully watched the red planet, the one they named for the god of war, low and huge in the sky at that hour, flash in and out of view between groves of pine. But what I was concentrating on, really, wasn't concentrating on nothing. My mind's eye was locked on you, friend, on how you never got mad at me for bitching, never told me I was being tiresome and miserable, and always knew how to turn my head so it was facing the right direction. It filled me with humility and hopefulness and a renewed sense that this was all much, much bigger than I was.
No gurus. But if that wasn't yoga I'm not sure what is.
Resolution. Agreement, compromise, commitment. Discipline, mindful self-treatment. Clarity, a truth crystallized out of vicissitude and noise; shew-stone, scrying glass, silicate, in a grain of which is, apparently, all the world. Breakdown, dissolving, removing what is not necessary in order to arrive at what is. Elegance. The elemental. Dissonance shifting to consonance. Consonance. Order, harmony, right place. Concentrate. Bring it together. It's work, but what worthwhile thing isn't?
So I suppose I'm going to try to see this new year, after all, as an excercise in resoluteness. We're probably never going to rid ourselves completely of illusion; our eyes aren't built for it, they have a limited spectrum, and apparently most people's pineal glands aren't hitting on all cylinders, resulting in limited insight, and awful insomnia. But every minute of working to see behind the veil -- it counts. It accrues. And indeed it concentrates, over time.
Happy New Year, all. Wishing everyone a newfound resolving power, the ability to Get It Together. It's never too late.