Being mindful of how we live our lives has never been so important. We are living in a time in history when mass participation in the revolution of consciousness could mean the difference between the survival or extinction of this beautiful planet we call home. The time has come for us to collectively wake-up.
Today so much of the world is characterised by suffering; so much division. The wisdom traditions teach that to become fully present, to become mindful of what is here now, is to transcend suffering and transform dissonance into harmony once more. As Eckhart Tolle so poetically states in his revolutionary book The Power of Now:
Yesterday some of the Yobaba residents went on a walk up into the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains to a castle hidden in the sky. Up there, amid the clouds, we reflected on the mystery of things; we considered the elusive nature of our internal edges and the power of an embodied practice to bring them to the forefront of consciousness; we felt into the paradoxical yet synergistic concept of embodiment. Cradled within the mystical and mist-covered walls of the Chateau Peyrepertuse - and ancient Cathar fortress - we wondered... what lay just beyond the edge?
Playing the Edge
Playing the edge is essentially about practicing presence.
In Embodied Meditation we talk about an edge as the point of resistance, or boundary, that exists inside our bodies, and which prevents us from moving further into a particular position. We also recognise edges outside of us, concepts, fears or situations that arise and prevent us from moving and evolving into our realised selves. Places and situations where we hold on, where we dare not let go.
Edges in the body manifest as tensions, blockages and injuries where we have stored memories and emotions that have been too difficult for us to process. Our bodies expend energy in storing these emotions for us, which it continues to do until we are ready to shine the light of awareness onto the issue. During the practice of Embodied Meditation we move mindfully towards a physical edge, respecting it, and using breath to bring light and healing to release whatever may be stored there. We know that beyond the edge, there is more space, more freedom, as well as new edges for us to explore.
It would seem that in order for us to start living more compassionately together on this planet we must become more mindful. But before we can do that we must, as Tolle argues, come to a of place of acceptance of the reality of the present moment we find ourselves in. And therefore, in order to become mindful we must unavoidably approach, examine, and play with our edges - be they psychological, emotional, physical or spiritual etc..
Like Tolle's presence practice, "playing the edge" is also a means to becoming present. By working with (rather than against) our own edges - thereby surrendering to and accepting, without judgment, whatever arises in the present moment - we can begin to integrate and come into union with all that is. After all, the present moment is the place at which we have arrived as a result of every single decision and step we have taken throughout our entire lives. It is significant.
However, our ability, or lack thereof, to remain conscious in the present moment may also presents itself as an edge or barrier-like construct, particularly once the ego is involved. Surrendering to the present is not always easy. At first the very act of being present may seem like an impenetrable barrier. This is because this particular edge directly challenges the thinking-mind's propensity to compulsively "over-think", analysing and judging, planning and problem-solving, as well as our inherited pre-occupation with and misunderstanding of the nature of time itself. In order to release ourselves from this intellectual predicament, Tolle argues we need simply realise that:
Here is a short video snippet from Tolle on the power of presence:
In The Power of Now Tolle states that to be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: to be enslaved to the past (memory) and the future (anticipation). Indeed, the challenge of letting go of habitual, often ego-driven, thought patterns is what many of us struggle most with. But, like so many great gurus and teachers before him, Tolle assures us that:
The concept of presence is what the Zen masters wish to highlight when they ask, "If not now, when?" It is what the Sufis mean when they speak of themselves as "sons of time present." And presence, according to Tolle, is the key to freedom.
At Yobaba Lounge we believe that by bringing awareness to an edge, the present truth, the now, the individual spiritual warrior can begin to explore and practice mindfulness in a meaningful and embodied way. Just as Tolle insists that the only time of importance, or even of existence, is always now, thereby challenges us to shift our consciousness from time to presence.