Remember when you used to play tag when you were a little kid? Everyone would run away from the one kid who was IT. If the IT kid would touch you then you were IT and you had to run around and try to tag someone else. The first thing you did before the game began was to determine where home base was. It was a pole or car or someplace where you could go if you needed a breather from running. As long as you were on home base you couldn't be tagged. Home base for me is my yoga mat or aka the magic carpet.
I unroll the mat and the first thing that happens is I take a deep breath; I don't even have to think about it. Yesterday morning I left my house to teach a class and I was feeling agitated and frustrated. I get to the studio and the fireplace is already on. I had some time before the students arrived so I unrolled my mat. I needed a breather from life. I needed some time on home base to catch my breath.
As I stepped on the mat my breath deepened. Already I felt calmer. As I moved through a few asanas (poses) I appreciated the quiet of the space and the warmth of the fire.
We all need a home base. What is that for you? Lately I've had this nagging thought in my head. "Is my desire for enlightenment really just the desire to run away from the realities of life more then a true desire for union with God?" This thought as entered my mind more than once lately. Mostly I guess because I feel like I am escaping the realities of life when I practice - at least for a little while.
I've also been thinking a lot about my father. He passed away a couple of years ago. He was an alcoholic. He used alcohol to espace the realities of his life. I can understand the desire to want a reprieve from the stresses of life. We're running around playing this game of life for hours and hours and sometimes we need to get to home base to catch our breath. Some choose alcohol while others choose yoga. Is there a difference?
I've given this a lot of thought lately. We're all looking for home base. The problem is that most of us are looking for it in all the wrong places. It's not in a bottle of whiskey, or a cupcake, or in another person. You won't find it on the shelves at the Walmart at 4am.
Whether my desire for enlightenment is about union with God or simply a way of escaping the harsh realities of life for while I'm not really sure it matters. What I do know for sure is that when I practice I can play the game of life with a lot more grace. I can enjoy the game of life much better when I've had some time to catch my breath.
I'm eternally grateful to the teachers who have guided me along this path and who have shown me where home base is.
Just like when you play the game of tag - the first thing you do is establish where home base is. After that, the trick is to know when it's time to get to home base. Choose wisely and go there often.