Monday, March 15, 2010

Life is constant change: Parinamavda

Yoga has a term for the fact that all of nature is in a constant state of flux, parinamavada. The only place where an absolutely straight line, static unchanging balance, or permanence exist is in the human imagination.<br><br>

Yet, we seem to compare ourselves to a rigid standard: we should always look, act, think, feel and be a certain way, we should be able to do everything on an inflated to-do list to be accomplished or worthy.<br><br>

But, as in nature, we should seek a dynamic equillibrium, because a static balance will never come. It's a fairy tale, along with perfection. Homeostasis is a balance in flux. Everything in nature is in motion- the sunlight changes by minutes each day, clouds, temperature & humidity fluctuate, water moves in a cycle, seasons constantly change. From moment to moment everything is subtely different. Our popular culture would have us to think that we are entirely seperate from nature, so when our energy, moods & preferences flow & change we think something is wrong with us. <br><br>

Parinamavada is the constant change that is inherent life, the way nature works, and thus the way we work, if we accept it or not. Better for us to apply our mindfulness to observing how our energy, mood & needs fluctuate from day-to-day, hour-to-hour, moment-to-moment and honoring the reality that we find.<br><br>

When we wake up tomarrow we're not quite the same person we were when we went to sleep. When we come to the mat for yoga practice, we will experience the same poses differently depending on where we are mentally & physically at that moment. Our patience fluctuates with how we feel. The way we view & respond to the world depends on where we are at that particular moment in time. Not only are we constantly changing, but so is the whole world.<br><br>

Parinamavada invites us to observe our reality, let go of preconceived notions of how things are supposed to be, accept our moment to moment experience and to honor our instincts (not habits). Our instincts took thousands of generations to evolve & they serve us well. Instincts tell us to rest when we are worn out & warding off illness. They tell us to eat lightly in the heat, to eat heavy grains & stews in the winter. They tell us how to feed, clothe, protect & enjoy ourselves to find dynamic harmony.<br><br>

Not only does parinamavada beckon us to listen to our instincts, but it calls us to be free to evolve. We are one way this day or this year or this half of our life but it can all change with one inspiration and we are no longer the same. One example is motherhood- after pregnancy & giving birth a woman's old body dies, her chemistry & mindset are forever altered. Its not as some might imagine, "there goes her body", making inuitive choices a woman can be more beautiful as a mother than before. But it changes the shape, strength & feel of the body and the way the mind works. I feel myself rediscovering yoga poses, the curve of my lower back, how to express myself in dance- its all changed, parinamavada.<br><br>

Besides great shifts, parinamavada more commonly indicates the subtle differences in hydration, energy, mood, flexibility, strength, focus, thoughts, and infinite other factors that contribute to our total experience. Due to this plethora of contributors each moment, when we are mindful, is unique & fleeting. It is a rare gem. It is a taste to be savored. It is a smile that lights our heart. It is a peak experience or it is painful or it is mellow or what ever else it will be, but it is one & only one just like it. Others may be similar, but never again will you have this moment back. And this perhaps, is the most important part of parinamavada- once we learn to observe each moment as a unique experience we can really begin to see that the deepest beauty in life is found in the simplest moments. Enjoy the beauty of each fleeting one, let it fill your soul. This is the ephemeral exquisite nectar of life. Namaste.

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