What is stability? How does stability of body, breath, and mind, enhance our life and support us, in our journey on the earth?
Stability is defined as the property of a body that causes it, when disturbed from its equilibrium, to develop ways to restore equilibrium. So… how do we find stability?
"Are we present in our body, where we are?"
Daily, we may access stability within each movement of our body, our physical form. How are we standing, moving, sitting, eating, resting, interacting with others? Are we present in our body, where we are? Are we standing firmly on the earth, with our heads lifted, and our torsos balanced, and comfortably erect? Or are we as otherwise healthy individuals, off kilter, leaning forward, falling backwards, sitting into a hip, tripping over our own feet, not balanced?
Within each breath, are we aware of the quality, depth, and initiation of our inhalation and exhalation? Is there an easy, steady rhythm to our breath, or is it erratic, shallow, heavy, or restricted?
Within our minds, are we focused on the thought, conversation, moment, task at hand, or are we off in a daydream, or reliving a nightmare, confusing delusion with reality?
When we choose to stand upon the earth with awareness, we begin to engage our perception in the present moment, and will notice balance, steadiness, equilibrium arising within our bodies. When we choose to sense our breath, we begin to engage a physiological experience of equalizing our inhalation and exhalation. When we choose to notice our thoughts moving, quickly, scattered, or without focus, and bring them to a place of calm abiding, equipoise, we begin to soften the edges of thought, find clarity, and quiet the obsessive or excited thinking mind.
"Dedicate yourself to living a stable life."
Notice when there is a moment or more where you are able to stabilize, harmonize, still the mind. Perhaps it is after a walk, a cup of tea, a conversation with a kindred spirit, listening to music, seeing art, playing with your pet, after a meditation, or yoga practice. Every day, create an intention for a sense of a stability. When you move about your day, notice your physical movements, are they steady, and grounded? Feel your feet on the earth, and your heart open, your mind, clear and ready to join in the day. Offer yourself this freedom. Dedicate yourself to living a stable life.
The practice of stabilizing our minds is the essence of all contemplative practices, including yoga. This teaching is the foundation of two of the most important, and ancient yoga texts. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (The threads of Yoga, 400 C.E.), it is the second instruction, “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, Yoga chitta vritti nirodhah,” and when we do steady our minds, the third thread of the yoga sutras, rings true, “we then may notice our own unobstructed true and complete, compassionate nature, “tada drhastuh svarupe vashtanam.”
"What a joy, a relief, to touch the true essence of our spirit..."
In the Bhagavad Gita, the ancient tome (200 B.C.) on yoga, the stabilizing of the mind, and the opening of the heart to the world, is its central teaching. Using a translation by author, Eknath Easwaren, “When the mind is calm, one releases the binds of emotion.” “One whose mind is stable and whose intelligence is focused, is perfect in yoga.” Then “One may see themselves in all beings and all beings in themselves.” This is noted duly, as a lifetime practice, to live a healthy life and cultivate peace, awareness, stability, and discernment.
What a joy, a relief, to touch the true essence of our spirit, unpeeling the layers of our conceptual, concretized, civilized, constructed identity, to uncover, and reveal our open heart, and our clear and stable mind. In these moments of freedom, of stability, of equilibrium, of attunement, of steadiness, we are able to notice a healthy relationship with the world around us, and be grateful for life’s journey.
(Art Assemblage: Graeme Messer, Cornell Art Museum, Delray Beach, Florida)