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On Belonging: Sink Into the Groove

Written by on November 17, 2020 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments

There are many ways to be in the world. It takes an open heart, a keen ear, and a discerning eye to feel into those way that one belongs in the world. I'm both a jazz musician as well as a career yoga, Yoga Nidra, and meditation teacher. I feel as if these pursuits chose me rather than me choosing them. How do we find our own belonging in the world?

Sinking Into Your Groove

Photo by Joshua Terry

When I am playing with my jazz group, there is something magical that happens each time we play a tune. I count it off, we all begin playing, and for the first second it feels as though there are four musicians who are playing a song. Then, our minds and hearts feel the rhythm, the melody starts to sing, and in an instant we stop being four different musicians playing a song and become one organic being with four parts, all in magical sync. We sink into the groove. It feels miraculous to realize I'm controlling the saxophone and playing my guts out, but I feel larger than just the saxophone. I feel like I am the whole band, the whole sound. I've been playing with many of these musicians for years and such a habit of this synchronicity has spawned an ability to read one another's mind or communicate subtly without using words.

Belonging To Your Voice

At the end of the night as we are packing up our instruments and talking about how the night went, I sometimes wonder why the drummer chose the drums and the bass player chose the bass and the piano player chose the piano. Inevitably I think about why I chose the sax and realize that there was really no decision in the matter. I heard the sax when I was a little kid and instantly knew that it was something I wanted to play. It wasn't a matter of choosing, rather figuring out that I belonged there and bravely following the path that opened for me. And such was the case with each other musician. We all followed our path, which seemed to be laid out for us, and in so doing it led us to run parallel with each other in this meaningful way. And so we were able to become the majesty of this music, four parts of a miracle.


Choosing Your Path

Of course this extends to each person and to each part of our lives. We all bravely choose the path that seems to call to us, and follow it, knowing that it is our path. And just because we follow our path doesn't mean we will be bereft of problems, but at least we'll have the satisfaction of knowing that this is our destiny. We may come to realize that we've grown up thinking that one path is right for us but realize that something else calls to us now. I'll always play music, it's in my blood, but growing up I never expected to be teaching yoga as a career. Still, nothing could be more natural for me. I've followed this path and it pays off every time I encounter the heart and soul of another practitioner.

When we sink into our groove, we stop trying to be any other way than how we are. We stop trying to project this perfect, realized, put together, abstract vision of ourselves and allow ourselves to really taste all the flavors of living, both the bitter and the sweet. Though sometimes it is hard, it is also very real. By willing to play our instrument, we become part of the great whole. I think of our kula, our group of like-minded practitioners: all practicing in our own way, with our strengths and limitations, but contributing to the organic whole by being exactly who we are. As we do so, we will become clearer and clearer with our relationship to our Larger Self as we feel what it is like to be the group, to be the practice, to be life.

The following is a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke called The Swan, which speaks to moving into our element and turning awkwardness into graciousness. There is also a beautiful allusion to letting go and realizing the Larger Self.

This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.


And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.

–Translated by Robert Bly

Bring who you are to the world this week and practice sinking into your groove and your own largeness.

 

Photo by Alex Adams

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and the author of Practical Yoga Nidra: The 10-Step Method to Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep, and Restore Your Spirit. When he's not teaching or conducting retreats, or traveling to teach, he also writes for Yogi Times, Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats and trainings in places like Tuscany, France, and Hong Kong , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program. Scott just moved back to Salt Lake City after living in Southern France with his family.

 

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