On Loneliness and Fear
The sleeping Vishnu represents the time between the manifest universe's, pre- Big Bang if you like. He slumbers on the snake Ananta, endless time, in the cosmic ocean, infinite space. At some abitrary point, I'm sure there is a crazy algebraic equation that would detail it, he is roused and as he awakes a lotus sprouts from his navel and seated upon the blossum is the creator of the universe Brahma.
The sleeping Vishnu represents the time between the manifest universe's (pre- Big Bang if you like). He slumbers on the snake Ananta (endless time) in the cosmic ocean (infinite space). At some abitruary point (I'm sure there is a crazy algebraic equation that would detail it) he is roused and as he awakes a lotus sprouts from his navel and seated upon the blossum is the creator of the universe Brahma. So there Brahma is situated high in the cosmic ocean on this super lotus and well he feels a little lonely, so he decides to create other. This is like the Hindu Adam and Eve. Now all is fine and well he no longer feels bored and lonely, but now with 'other' and the universe is manifest and he feels fear.
This is a beautiful story, my succinct summary may not do it justice, but it contains some relevance to us in our yoga practice and particularly meditation. The sleeping Vishnu represents our awakened Self – the part of us that is secure and able to move from a clear and loving place in our life action. This is lost when we move instead from insecure emotional states like fear and loneliness. Our consciousness moves outward to identify with objects around us and we try to control and manipulate our world to find security.
Meditation give us a practice to return to that clear and fearless place – 'our' centre. When you get really familar with the mind, you start to see that many unhelpful behaviours - the ones that cause us and our love ones suffering – can be traced back to fear and loneliness. If we are not aware of it, these emotions will drive us. With awareness, maybe brought about by meditation practice we are able to move through fear and loneliness and refind our Self. Infact they are said to be the last emotions we face on a pathway to awakening or realisation. The awakening is just a deep and permanent realisation of that secure Self.
So I was remembering my first days in India – alone, no people that spoke english, no internet, no guidebooks – I had a great opportunity to confront with loneliness and fear. My mind was sometimes in a panic saying, 'how did I get here?', 'I'm never travelling alone again!' But I will travel like that again because I've experienced the value of going through those emotions. As you watch you see directly there is actually nothing to be afraid of and you experience that you are alright. I'm not suggesting you put yourself in the situations that I do; you will have your equivalent in daily life... it's more to consider seeing the value of not trying to escape what feels scary... and of course if you want more practice than I'd encourage you to come on retreat.
And now I will get back to my hardest practice... sorting out a facebook ad for the retreat. If you see it on fb, please don't just like it, share it... make my life easier.