The Safety Net of Paradox

Ok, yogi friends.  This practice is no joke.  It's a game changer, a life shifter, an "I'll never be the same again-er."  A while back  I was sitting around with a bunch of Teacher Training graduates and a few other guest teachers at a mountain retreat, and we were talking about the power of this practice of Yoga.  Afterwards, one of the guest teachers pulled me aside and said, "your training should be called the quit your job and change your life Teacher Training."  Whoa.  I took pause.

Is that how I want to be known?  We live in a world where definitions rule.  When asked, "who are you?" most of us immediately answer with a long list of defining actions or achievements that really don't reflect the truth of who YOU are.  We lose ourselves in definition, and when we aren't able to define ourselves in the world we feel lost.  So some of us become seekers, defying definition and forging our own path.  We work hard to be unconventional, original, authentic to our heart's call.  And then somebody defines us.

It causes us to take pause.  When our work to expand beyond definitions and inspire others to do the same becomes the very definition of who we are.  What a paradox.  There is a teaching in one of the ancient texts of tradition that I study that says over and over in a hundred different ways that the world is this AND that.  Both extremes existing at once as ONE.  It implores us that if anything can truly be classified in an absolute and singular way that as spiritual aspirants, we must question it. 

The understanding of the paradox of reality is our pathway to freedom, a glimpse through the window to the vista of non-duality.  We become tangled in our definitions of things, and in trying to escape our mess, we define ourselves.  Yet when we realize we are at once the absence and the presence of these definitions, we are free. 

One of my teachers once gave the analogy of a spider, she spins the web to create her world, yet the web that she is spinning comes from inside of her, her own creation.  She is the container of the entire world, and the spinner of her own story in which she dances the dance of life.  So in owning our definitions as doorway to the infinite, we unwind the thread within.  

We will probably always be at the mercy of a definition; I'm a mom, a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a yogini, a student, a brunette, a talker, and maybe also a director of a "quit your job and change your life Teacher Training."  But now, these definitions of Self are the web in which I dance rather than the sticky, tangled trap that holds me down.  I am that, AND I am also the undefinable, undeniable greatness of being, and so are you.