It all starts with a breath. The unfolding “Awakening” which frees us from the dark night of self-delusions comes as we train our awareness on the breath. Just breathe. Adam’s first sacred task in the Garden of Eden, intimately linked with his own awakening from a deep sleep, was to receive the breath of life. I can hear it, that first, deep, gasping, inhale; and the melodic rhythm of breathing which continues in me.
Then comes the next Garden of Eden assignment. “Look around you, what do you see? Animals? Name these animals. Become aware of them and put words on what you see.” Sitting in meditation we look around at our internal world and similarly become aware of beasts, which we label…. Fear. Pain. Boredom. Rationalizing. Judging. Ahhhh, here comes a good one, Monkey Mind! This is nice, I like being in charge of the assignments to breathe and name. My own little mini Garden of Eden experience. Breath of life. Awareness. Naming. I’ve totally got this.
But then it gets interesting. At the beginning for me, I saw meditation as a relaxation exercise. A lovely walk in the garden. But the longer I linger here, I start to become aware of things I’d forbidden. What is this, resistance? That’s not supposed to be here. Anxiety? No, go away. This is supposed to be a peaceful garden. Shame!? No, no, no, no, that’s not right at all. Who let these in here? This is a mess, whose fault is this? Who’s in charge around here?
I hear Him calling, but I’m still hiding. “Just let me go back to naming the animals. This has gotten way too complicated.” He holds me in His awareness, naming me, without judgment: “Carrie….. Carrie…… Carrie, where are you?” That’s a good question, indeed, where am I? I’m here, I’m on my yoga mat, but am I really fully here, willing to see and… gasp… be seen? By Him? Or by this person next to me? Showing up means getting kicked out – kicked out of my comfort zone, out of my self-delusions, and out of the entitlement of blaming and avoidance. Do I really want to go out of the Garden and into vulnerability and work?
Feeling really exposed, I take a step forward into the awakening light. And here, on my mat? I take a deep breath.