Straight Talk With Time

Written by on June 18, 2019 in Conscious Living, Inspirational, Meditation with 0 Comments
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Ravana, the 10-headed demon (Image: Wikipedia)

The ancient and epic poem The Ramayana says that long ago there was a powerful Demon king named Ravana. His power blinded him with pride, deceived him into thinking he was larger than Dharma or Truth. Ravana stole a princess, Sita, Rama's wife, and a war was waged to get her back.

Blinded By Pride


And though Ravana was often blinded by pride, he was not completely blind to profound understanding. There was a moment before Ravana was to go into battle when in the night, he went up to a great tower, onto the roof of his palace, and suddenly had a great insight regarding time. With this understanding, he felt great freedom, like a band had broken from his chest. He danced for all of the heavens looking on and with his last step felt as though he'd crushed the tight hold with which time had him.

Straight Talk with Time

On his way down the stairs Ravana is confronted by Kala, the god of time. Kala is old and decrepit and wasted like a skeleton. He tells Ravana that soon he will be in time's power and that Ravana will have to spend the rest of time paying for the sins of his lifetime. 

Ravana listens for a moment then scoffs, “You little liar!”

Kala retorts,”What? You stole Sita and you'll pay-”

“You are the thief and not I,” said Ravana. “For a few moments' pleasure you take whole lives in payment. And whatever you give you steal back, by fraud, from hiding, when you're not watched. Death and misery are your good friends-but you are yourself unreal: you do not exist; you cannot steal from me.”

“Do you know who I am?” cried Kala.

“A marketplace of sorrows,” Replied Ravana

Kala said, “. . . your home is empty your friends have died and all the good times are long gone . . . all must change and die . . . .”


 “We know better than that,” said the Demon King, “Love is eternal and we are beyond your reach. . .  But I must be on my way now, I can't be late, and my time is far too valuable to waste on anything but daydreams. . . Good love never dies.”
(Buck, pp. 334-9)


What We Need is Here


Despite his faults, Ravana still has the clarity to expose a startling truth: the past has dissolved, the future is an abstraction (has never been, really). All we have is now. We are always in the present. But despite the unreal natures of past and future, we seem to spend a lot of time there. Pining or regretting the past, biding time or biting our nails waiting for the future. What we need is here. What we have is now. I think what we really practice in yoga is presence. Presence with our breath. Presence with our muscles and bones in postures. Presence with other practitioner's in class. What we pay for when we go to a yoga class isn't the space, isn't the time to do yoga, isn't even necessarily instruction. What we get when we do yoga is a reminder to look inside and experience the timeless, the result of living continuously in the present.


A good friend of mine was sitting one morning in Small Town Coffee House in Kapa'a, Kauai soaking up the morning sun, feeling the tropical sweetness, and savoring a cup of jo when she looked over to the clock on the wall and instead of numbers pointing to the hour, each hour mark read, “Now. Now. Now.” I believe clocks are mostly misunderstood: they only point to now but translate what we read into what has or hasn't happened, into past or future.


I invite you to enter into the realm of the timeless by being present with something, whether that's a yoga class, a meditation, a Yoga Nidra meditation or spending the time(less) with your favorite people. We can practice presence at any moment of the day.
 

Poems


 
(Untitled)
 
The birds' broken cadences through the glass remind me I am here. This moment, tender and fragile, potential for pleasure and loss. This moment, this life, is enough.
 
Celeste Keele
 

What We Need Is Here
 
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
 
Wendell Berry
 

Works Cited:
Buck, William. Ramayana. Berkley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1976

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he's not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for 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 to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

 

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