Practice

Suspending Strength and Weakness

Warrior III. I watch my mind resist, and my body tense.  I have struggled with this posture for a long time because my hips are very flexible but lack stability and it makes this pose very hard.  But it also makes it very necessary to bring a balance of tone and openness to this region.  I enter the pose and automatically feel compensations arise:  tense jaw, thwarted breath, locked standing knee and unsquare pelvis.  Emotions arise:  irritation, resistance, confusion.  My mind begins to judge:  How long have you been working on this?  Why isn’t this getting easier?  What’s wrong here?I see my physical, mental and emotional patterns play themselves out in the container of this pose. “Make space for it all” becomes my mantra and I stay just a little bit longer, in my weakness.  As the proverbial knots of my conditioned response to this posture untie I am ushered beyond the experience of only weakness into something else.  I am reminded that my weakness is simply the edge of my strength and my stamina is renewed.  I cannot be only weakness, if I were I’d not be able to stand, steady myself on one leg and approach a horizontal experiment in any way.  Weakness is not opposed to strength but in fact highlights it.At this point I wonder if I can not only experience the binary sensations of both strength and weakness in an oscillating dance between the two, but begin to let them merge.  What’s at the mid-point?  Presence.  My mind ceases it’s movement between the poles and suspends itself in the gestalt – the whole that is larger than the sum of its parts.  It is momentary, but I have a glimpse of what it is like to be held in paradoxical place between two sides of a coin.

What is it like to be strong?  To be weak?  Both?  Neither?   Like a Zen koan of the body this is the questioning that evokes breaking down of illusion.  That which is identified with weakness or strength in us is called into question and we are liberated – if only for a single miraculous moment that has been divinely designed to make you ache for more.