It starts with a question. A hope or desire. It starts with the feeling that growth is imminent, that things are going to change. Then you plug that question, hope, or desire into the machine, the machine of self-discovery which turns using the cogs that you have built. One cog might be your yoga practice, another meditation, another, your daily walk or run. And don't turn the machine off at night. Pay attention to your dreams. And when you wake up in the morning, continue holding this question in your mind and heart. As you carry this inquiry throughout your day, it becomes the practice of your life, it becomes a living prayer. It becomes the way through which start you start to pay attention to the world. Poetry is merely the sound of cogs turning. Leonard Cohen says, "If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."
There's maintenance. Daily (or more) you've got to come to your mat, meditation cushion, your chosen craft (woodworking, poetry, dance, whatever) that engages your creativity, your talents, your insight. Part of maintenance is to keep the cogs clean by dusting them of fear, worry, negativity, and untruth. Then listen. Regularly find a place where everything can be quiet, where the ripples on the water can subside and you can see down to your own depths, even for a few minutes a day.
Eventually, you will gain new insight, often in ways you hadn't expected. You'll come up with new questions, hopes or desires. You'll plug the new questions into the machine too and soon, you'll realize that your whole life, this living prayer, is one constant flow of self-discovery. Maybe the process is more important than the inquiry. Maybe to be human is to ask the question, "What?" And through the process, the jigsaw puzzle of your life will start to materialize and come into focus.
Like a jigsaw puzzle the image sometimes doesn't materialize in any particular order. Eudora Welty said, "The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily--perhaps not possibly--chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation."
Join me this week on your mat with your question, hope, or desire as we all plug it into the machine and co-participate in this continuous thread of revelation.
Or if you truly desire revelation, join me this weekend at my Spring Yoga Retreat Friday night through Sunday afternoon. See what a weekend of yoga, meditation, nature, and happiness will reveal to you.