ARE YOU WILLING TO MAKE THE FINAL COMMITMENT?
When a caterpillar spins a cocoon around itself and succumbs into the darkness, it has no doubt that the next stage of life will be transformational. It does not have cold feet or the reluctance in the way in which you and I would. The cocoon emblematizes its full throttle commitment. With one way in and one way out, it is the perfect vessel for metamorphosis.
Lucky for the caterpillar, its mind is not capable of weighing alternatives. That is in stark contrast with the human brain that obsesses over millions of options. We are so fickle by options that we strain over the most trivial decisions — like what toothpaste to purchase or what shoes to wear. We have a deep fear over making the wrong decision. We desire certainty yet are not willing to accept that much of life is out of our control. Consequently, the decisions we make are with one foot in and one foot out.
Actively seeking out a teacher or mentor is one of the best ways to breakthrough such doubts — someone with empathy whom we trust and is willing point out our weaknesses. Unfortunately, such an individual is rare in our culture.
But there is hope!!
A daily routine and personal practice can fill in as a mirror reflecting onto us what we need to learn. Our practice, whether it be yoga, meditation, running, writing or art, is a constant stream of insight. Some days our body feels great and some days we are tired? What can we learn from this? Some days we experience enthusiasm and others days lackluster. What can we learn from this?
What we can learn is up to us. But we have to be committed to listen.
I used to love my daily practice. It would be a simple sequence of postures, a few minutes of handstand and seated meditation. After awhile I noticed that everytime I did my practice, my right shoulder had a sharp burning sensation on the front. At first I associated the pain with a series of past injuries and ignored it. I didn’t want to believe my practice could be the culprit. With the shoulder pain unremitting I finally decided to listen.
The pain I was experiencing was the voice of the “teacher” telling me what to do. I am not advocating that pain is the only indicator. All sensations in our body, mind and breath are pointing to something. When I listened to pain I learned that I could be free from it. I learned about attachment. I learned to differentiate comfort in my mind from that in my body.
The commitment to listen openly sanctions transformation and gives us the virility to step inside of the cocoon. In reflection of the past, it becomes clear the nature of outcome when we cover our ears and when we are willing to listen. I suggest moving forward we all embrace the teacher; whether it be one speaking through us or seeking mentorship from a reliable outside reference.