“Don Juan had always said to me that our great enemy is the fact that we never believe what is happening to us… when we finally realize what is going on it is usually too late to turn back. He contended that it is always the intellect that fools us, because it receives the message first, but rather than giving it credence and acting on it immediately, it dallies with it instead.”
Carlos Castaneda

The Second Ring of Power

Emptiness

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The past 6 months have been a revealing period…

It began when  Andreea wen to Romania (October). This presented me with unique and fresh circumstances. We were already living a intimate life in retreat. I was alone for the first time in a long time. I had a renewed daily practice (Yoga asana, Pranayama & Shakuhachi) and daily routine that felt good. There were days when I would not say a word except for greeting our cat and parakeet in the mornings. I felt at home in my body, I was eating well and sleeping well. The times in between my practices were unimportant and playful – filled with consistent writing and small interventions in a few projects I carry with me.

Then when I flew to join Andreea in Romania (supposedly a 2+ week vacation – around mid December) – the peaceful pattern was broken. It was a pleasant visit, but I did not manage to sustain my practices and energy. I was not surprised, traveling is rarely easy or comfortable for me. I made a conscious sacrifice going to Romania, knowing it would disrupt my peaceful state of being, knowing I would need to settle and recollect myself afterwards.

A week after we returned from Romania (early January), as I was practicing a few Asana I strained my lower back. It took me a few weeks of gentle work to bring peace to my lower back. It took almost a month for me to reach a full capacity practice and to enjoy a quality pranayama practice. There was also a matter of adjusting to new practice and life patterns that included Andreea’s presence again. I was begnning to feel present again… until March came.

March promised to be a hectic month and it is delivering on its promises. Before it is over we will have visited with my family 3 times. Each visit involves a 3+ hour (one way) journey (from our home in the North of Israel to the center area of Israel) and usually lasts 3 days. The visits are pleasant, my parents take us generously into their home. But my parents’ place leaves very little place & space for practice. It is an intense space, filled with lots of friction, well-intended aggressions and a constant background of distractions. Sometimes there are conversations in which I invest great energy (mostly with my father). It drains my already travel-dissipated energy and gives me vey few opportunities to replenish it.

Two visits are already past. We are now in a recess, and in a few days will be on our way to the third visit. I am trying to sprinkle my days with a few light practices – to create some regularity, focus, lightness & softness. Practice doesn’t come easy when my energy is dissipated. These very words are coming to me instead of a physical practice. I intended to practice, but something drew me to the window, maybe it was a promising warmth from the sun (the house feels cold these days, even though the sun is shining outside). As I stood there looking outside silently, I realized I feel empty – it is an unpleasant feeling.

For quite some time I haven’t been able to fool myself into taking my work too seriously. I consider myself fortunate to be free to pursue projects that are close to my heart. Almost all of these projects are driven by clear intents and purpose…. and yet none of them relate to my own sense of purpose. When I was alone and completely immersed in my practices I felt filled with purpose. Now, when I am away from my practices, I feel empty.

p.s.: when we are on the train heading out on our first visit it was around sunset time. there was lots of humidiy in the air. on the outskirts of Haifa I remember seeing some beautiful images. they were dominated by a creamy color, the ocean and the sky were a continous texture, there was no horizon… there were very few visible details… a boat floating in the midst of creamy emptiness, some gently waves in the foreground… it was mostly beautiful emptiness… it soothed me.

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