What does it mean to be full?
I think of my mom’s apple pie, when I think about “being full”. I’m usually eating it at the end of a special feast.
Full sometimes has the connotation of decadence and being uncomfortable. There’s a stretching of the skin of a balloon when it becomes full.
There is a growth quality with being full, right? Being full doesn’t often mean satisfied. It means I’ve taken on slightly more than I’m comfortable with and I’m in uncharted territories with this amount of stuff.
Yoga is a practice of wholeness, limitless union. And today we have a Full Moon, or a moon that appears to be a whole circle in the sky.
It gives us a visual reference of something growing into its capacity. Into its wholeness.
Since we know that everything is connected, if we see something as being possible in the world, we can also see it in ourself, so then the growth we observe of the moon can provide insight into our very own fullness.
We also expand and we also grow.
I know we are sheltering with limited opportunities now. But I know many of us are still asking, what can I do? How can I grow? If you weren’t asking those questions, you would be here with me.
How can I heal? How can I make things better? What does that even look like?
These questions bring us onto this path towards understanding our fullness.
Right now we are being challenged, in this forced simplicity, this “forced detox” as Glennon Doyle called it this week, to realize that fullness is not dependent on anything else, except us.
We are the only ones who can restrict our growth. So then we can ask, when do I limit myself?
Or better yet, as meditators we can ask, when do I become distracted? When do I get sidetracked and taken away from my presence? Taken away from BEING in my body, in the moment…when do I stop BEING in my wholeness???
This is a time to lay in the bed that we’ve made, my loves, quite literally and figuratively. It’s a chance to look at the dark side. Though we see the big bright circle in the sky tonight, we know the moon has a dark side.
Our lives have been so regulated and so limited by these outside sources. We have no where else to go but within. Our choices are few. The distractions and the ways we used to limit ourselves are more obvious. The ways in which we avoid and numb are powerful and really hard to change.
Many of the ways we’ve disconnected from things in the past, have now been removed and we are being forced to connect. We are being forced to wake up. We are being forced to be ourselves with ourselves, if we’re sheltering alone. We are being forced to be ourselves with our families. (I love the adage, if you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family.)
We are being forced to acknowledge all the ways in which we distract and limit ourselves from being full.
What stories do we repeat to ourselves which keep us doubting or fearful? Because those are ways we check out too. They are ways we disconnect from love. We can find the stories we tell where we feel rejected and not worthy, or where we create an unnecessary and unreal boundary by comparing or judging.
There will be many things that distract us from ourselves.
There will be a million reasons not to meditate.
And this is the practice. Meditation is the purposeful practice of presence.
We can do this practice because we know we’re not alone. We’re here together. And we also have time-honored stories that show us the way toward love.
We can look to the story of Siddhartha Gautama under the bodhi tree… just before he attains enlightenment Mara, the god of evil, approaches him and tempts him with distractions of lust, hesitation and fear. All of these things get in the way of all of our practices. If they don’t, then congratulations on being enlightened.
We can look to the story of Jesus in the garden of Gesthemene…right before he is arrested and taking away to be crucified, he knows what’s going to happen and he has a moment of deep human fear and doubt and asks God “take this cup away from me”.
It is human to doubt, especially when we are on a path to realizing our fullness.
One of my favorite Hindu myths is about the Monkey God, Hanuman. He’s one of the only gods who does everything he decides to do. And that is due to Hanuman’s incredible ability to surrender and trust.
We have technique, we have ritual, we have consistency, we have the practice.…because yes, the distractions are going to be there. The doubt, the fear, the greed, the anger…all of it is with us in this practice, we see it, we recognize it, we carry it with us, it’s undeniable…it’s part of our humanness. But we practice so that we can become full enough that we make space for it and know that those distraction are not all the we are.
We doubt and fears, yes. But we are also brave, trustworthy, compassionate and loving.
We have the practice of meditation so that we can acknowledge all our distractions and limitations and also acknowledge our ability to trust and to surrender. And that we as humans have the capacity to carry all of this, equally and fully. This is when we begin to get a glimpse of our great capacity and wholeness.