The Kroller Muller Museum, Otterlo, is one of my favourite places here in the Netherlands. This weekend we were there (again), taking the shaded paths around the sculpture garden. The Needle Tower (pictured here), seemed to lose itself to infinity hovering precariously upwards and beyond, an aluminium and steel structure that somehow belonged to the landscape. The sky played with the geometric forms, the sculpture mimicked the sky. It was imposing yet fragile, permanent and transitory. The interplay and interconnectedness between viewer, object and environment took me out of the everyday aspect of life. It was an aesthetic experience transcending the self, momentary yet timeless.
This feeling of being outside of time and space in the conventional sense is very similar to being in a meditation practice where we transcend or lose our sense of self, the ever grasping ego of wants and desires evaporates. Art and nature are both aspects of life that create a similar dynamic to meditation, there is an element of engaging that becomes a subtle letting go.
When we contemplate aesthetically, or come to a certain meditative state, there is a sense of losing the ‘I’ of who we are, as we merge with everything around us, without boundaries, there is no separation. It is the still point of temporary suspension where time stands still.
I am learning Dutch and the word herinneringen is one I came across at the weekend, I wanted to say: “memories are a funny thing”. (I didn’t get much beyond the first word, herinneringen!).
What is the memory of this summer just gone, was it a good one? What defines that?
Memories are part and parcel of the complex nature of being, some form deep emotional roots, others are so transient they evaporate. We cannot be who we are without our backlog of memory files, created moment by moment; they form and shape the narrative of our identity. Some files gets edited and re-edited as we retrieve them, talk about them, and embellish them. The weight of those files, is either the baggage we carry on our backs, or, the notepad that weighs very little.
Herinneringen is an interesting concept when we talk about mindfulness. Mindfulness is often interpreted as moment to moment awareness, but it is of course bound up with memory. The traditional Pali meaning of the word mindfulness (Sati), is seated somewhere in the realms of remembering, calling to mind. How we experience successions of now moments is based on the history of how we experience and interpret our life.
Think back on part of your summer, how much of what you remember and recollect truly reflects the experience? There is a tendency for the remembering self to focus on the negative aspects, even if they only constitute a small part of the overall experience.
The cultivation of mindfulness helps create memory files that are less judgemental, less prone to mental elaboration. We learn to experience our day to day without getting caught up in the proliferating narrative and the meta narrative that ensues. This happens over time as we develop our mindfulness practice and get to know our selves better.
Satty Yoga is integrated yoga and mindfulness, a synergy between the mind, the body and the breath. A process of moving into balance and harmony through a movement practice that reveals the expansiveness of the mind and the natural creativity of the body. The foundation is Ashtanga and Hatha yoga. The classes vary from dynamic to slow flow.
The movement and the sitting practice allow us to get to know ourselves better through tuning into our bodies and our minds. This tuning in, or soft listening, is cultivated through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is an active process with many aspects to it. The most common aspect is knowing what we are experiencing whilst we are experiencing it. Being able to drop into present moment awareness without judging or story telling.
We experience the natural energetics of the body and at the same time still the fluctuations of the mind, the two go hand in hand.
You do not need to be flexible to try yoga, the greatest flexibility required is from the mind! You work with the body’s natural intuition, softly listening, moving with the ebb and flow of the breath, moving and feeling into your rhythm towards greater mental and physical well being. Satty Yoga facilitates the process of transformation, YOU make it happen.
Smile from within 🙂