This final yama is about contentment. More literally, it means non-possessiveness or not holding on to what isn’t and being happy with what is. I struggle with this one, not because I covet my neighbor’s new car or envy anyone who can carry a tune. No, I actually like my sixteen-year-old station wagon and sing out no matter who can hear me. What I crave is sleep.
I was a light sleeper even before the insomnia of Parkinson’s. Is my desire to sleep through the night a sign of hopefulness, an indication that I haven’t given in to the disease? Or, am I clinging to a future rather than being present with what is?
At 3:00 a.m., tangled in the covers, I’m fully in the now, aware of the quiet house and that all others in it are asleep. Everyone in the neighborhood is tucked in bed, dreaming. The whole town is snoozing.
I’ll drift off eventually, if even for a short period, waking to sound of robins and finches greeting the morning. Before I untangle the covers, I begin my yoga, starting with the breath. I inhale deeply, exhaling fully. Inhale again, exhale with a smile.
Rather than clinging to the idea of what sleeping through the night looks like, I wonder if I can bring yoga to my restlessness. Why wait until the sun rises? At whatever wee hour I’m lying awake, I’ll breathe and let the quiet and the covers be what they are. Content to be peaceful and warm, I’ll exhale with a smile, sending it to anyone else lying awake who thinks no one else is.
I just finished a book called Hiroshima Dreams by Kelly Easton. Although a children’s fiction book, and not a yoga book at all, she hits on some of these same themes. Using meditation to find that quiet spot in the middle of the day, in the middle of herself in order accept and understand who she is. Using that unfocused time to focus inwardly, and thus it becomes used/usable time.
Although I haven’t found my place in yoga or meditation yet, it does speak to me in my own quiet place. I have used breathing as a way to calm myself, esp. when I was younger and doing stage work or large public speaking. But as I get older, I relate to it more on the personal level. When no one is looking. When it is just for me. And I can see yoga becoming a personal/private meditation. I like the idea of being able to use it not as an outward calming/exercising/I’ve got it all together type of activity, but rather to use it in the middle of the night, “to let the quiet and the covers be what they are”. This really appeals to me.