In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

A Curious but Obvious Notion

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I nearly always practice yoga in the solitude of my room, yoga mat spread flat and cushy on the clearing between my bed and doors, bathroom and bedroom. The spot is spacious enough, though I often disappear from wherever I am anyhow, closing my eyes in movement, shuttering my awareness to the outer material world as much as possible. I do not feel this kind of freedom in a class.

One consistent ritual in my practice is to light incense, some evergreen, pine or reedy scent reminiscent of the earth’s goodies. I am not sure when or how I switched from scented candles to incense, but I burn incense now as I have for years. To complement the scents, I click on my Native American flute ensemble station on Pandora to hear the hollow wooden whistles of the fluted chorus sung through the wind or birds, screeches of eagles, or even drums of thunder and clackle of wampum. Sometimes I listen to the sound of simulated light or water in vibrational tones or wind chimes. Anything to cast away the walls as I salute the sun through and past the house rooftop.

But it recently hit me. The memories of moving through asana practice outdoors, like that yoga on the beach or in the park series, bring me peace, thinking how I glimpsed the indivisibility of the inner and outer worlds integrated then. The juxtaposition of moving inward while outside brought everything yoga I had read, practiced and believed into focus. Moments of fluidity of mind and matter.

It all makes sense. Inside, the impulse to move inward is driven by outdoor signs; outside, the drive to move inward out into the expanse pivots from the outside moving inward and back out again, both inward and outward absorbing all as one. Not so much an epiphany as a slot-filling, the answer finally catching up to the question.

Namaste, as you were.

One Naked Poet, the Gaze.

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