Friday, April 30, 2010

The Still Point

As Yoga practitioners, we concern ourselves with the rhythm of breath; we try to slow it down and concentrate on the pauses between inhalation and exhalation. We recognize the moments of rest between asanas, those temporal pauses that give Yoga the spiritual component you don’t (always) get from running the treadmill. In Zen this moment of consciousness is called the “center,” or mindfulness; in Hinduism, a slice of Nirvana, in sculpture it is called “negative space,” and in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, it is known as

The Still Point:

“At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless; neither from nor towards. . .”

Burnt Norton – II The Four Quartets

Still more to the "point" is Credences of Summer by Wallace Stevens:

"Trace the gold sun about the whitened sky
Without evasion by a single metaphor,
Look at it in its essential barrenness
And say this, this is the centre that I seek. . .”

I’ve spent a good deal of time studying the Still Point in my life and I think I can now define it:

it is simply, being -- being to the nth degree. It is the quietude that heals and exalts, a moment of contemplation, the solace we get from meditation or prayer, a walk in the woods, a respite from the constant monkey talk of our minds. It is the pause

". . . between two waves of the sea. . ." Little Gidding, T. S. Eliot, Part V.

It's the unknown piece that's been missing; it is the void that seeks to be filled;

It is the ultimate knowing.