Consciousness,  Inner Work,  Inspiration,  Practice

To Be Fully Alive

To be fully alive, expanding in all directions.
This is my deepest wish, and my greatest fear.

What does it mean to be fully alive?    This question has been haunting me in various forms for most of my life.  I can’t say that I’ve come to any conclusions about it.  Instead, I suspend the question in my heart and what rises in brief lucid moments is a vision of a radiant sun, expanding in all directions from the center of my chest.  I see it and feel it now and it brings soft tears to my eyes.  I sense that this symbol represents two things.   The first is that I can become fully alive when I am willing and able to embrace all of life in the light of my consciousness.  To make “space for it all” in in the receptive, boundless sky of my essential being.  The second sense I get from this symbol is that there is not just consciousness necessary for being fully alive, but the courage to act in the world based on what is seen.  This comes partly after a conversation with a long time spiritual mentor.  He questioned not only whether I could see myself, but act based on what I see, consciously.

What this means to me, at this humble point, is that when I embrace myself fully and behold my inner experience shamelessly I am presented with the truth of who I am authentically.  To behold, truly, means to see all evasive maneouvering, compensations, defending against those things which I would prefer not to see or act upon. It means knowing when I am refusing to be fully alive by my unwillingness to accept the real thoughts, emotions, instincts and sensations that arise every moment of my life.   Sometimes the only way to be fully alive is to know when we refuse it.  

In yoga I try to enact this.  To be a in a pose with my attention spread in all directions, penetrating my mind, heart and body completely.  I settle into the pause and see, feel and sense all that I can from moment to moment.  I watch my refusals, my stubbornness and evasion. And then, as all of my perceptions are suspended in the warm reception of consciousness something emerges, a “knowing” of sorts and I move gently and purposefully to my next posture based on this new understanding.  It is in these brief moments of lucid integration that I feel most completely alive, a microscopic Big Bang – expanding in all directions.