The only things which probably last forever are love and death.
Love never dies. Love which is pure and asks nothing. Love which is borne from love. Which lifts you up and connects you to god and to the essential part of yourself which came here for its specific sojourn. Be it, to help another person pass through, or to give birth, or to love another or to know what it like to be loved.
And death. Though it is forever, it does not negate the existence of relationship which we may have lost or may be in the process of trying to recover.
Savasana, corpse pose, is the final resting pose we do at the end of our yoga practice. Many people look forward to this final pose of rest after a long practice. I have always found it to be my greatest challenge.
I had a wonderful friend who, for a time, took me under her wing, and who used to hold my hand during Savasana, knowing it was so difficult for me. I think of this now as a true act of kindness and love. As a sort of spiritual family. She knew the agitation and fear which crept up inside of me and she was able to hold a space for me there while our eyes were closed and the rooms were quiet. It moves me deeply because our friendship faced a sort of "break-up" and yet, she was my spiritual family and she falls into the category of love, for me, which never dies. I still hold her in my metta every day, even as our lives have grown so far apart and I hold these memories so close as there are not a lot of people who begin to know such tender places inside of you and let you know they are there for you in your most vulnerable of places. Perhaps that is what keeps love so alive inside of us.
Getting back to Savasana. It is a very vulnerable state. You are on your back, totally exposed, heart, throat, eyes, (even your genitals are facing up), palms open, and you are asked to rest. In all my years of yoga, I have had maybe three Savasanas which have been restful.
I was born three and a half weeks early as a premature baby. I wanted out!
Each time I have had surgery, and if you read this blog, you know there have been many, I have come barreling out of anesthesia and come back to consciousness as fast as possible and astonished everyone in recovery with my fluidity of language and memory. I just don't want to be in that state of "otherness."
It reminds me of the Dylan Thomas poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."
“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
I think that is how I am with Savasana. Fighting it at every bend. As if an entire room of yogins would be peacefully resting and I would be the last yogin standing no matter what.
And it's not just Savasana.
Savasana asks for us to be totally vulnerable and surrendered. Being on your back... Trusting.
I remember being in a workshop with another dear friend years ago and she was trying to do an adjustment on me. She kept speaking the words "Let go. Let go." Soon, I was reduced to a puddle of tears. I simply didn't know how to do that.
I had been managing so much physical and emotional pain in my life for so long, hearing those words dismantled me. I didn't know how I could possibly let go.
Savasana is an invitation to let it go at the end and lie down and die to it all. No matter what is happening inside. It is an invitation to trust that all will be restored.
But I have carried inside of me a vigilant determination that I cannot go gentle into the good night. That I must rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I don't know if this is something which will ever change about me even as I know how to usher students through a very gentle and nurturing and SAFE Savasana.
I still imagine my hand being held, which for me, was always a metaphor for my heart feeling deeply held through a process which was one I wanted to to rage against.
My friend taught me what really mattered. And that was and is love. Which will always remain.
The poses will always come and go. Learning Savasana, for me, will take the time it will take as I rage against it. But I know that I have learned to pay attention to what matters the most... and that will always be to surrender to love.
And for this instruction, I will always be grateful.