How do you define Living?
I was recently asked a simple question: “How
do you define living?” It gave me quite a pause. Take a moment and ask yourself
In yoga, we work to open the body and mind, to
become fuller, more ‘alive’ versions of ourselves. I watch the difference in
individuals from the start and finish of a single class- it’s almost as if they’ve
been reborn, or enlivened. Perhaps we have a vague idea of what ‘living’ is all
about- chilling on the beach with margarita in hand, sipping into oblivion. Or
maybe when we make it in life, then
we can start living. Just need to get that promotion! Then we wake up sixty and
wonder what we did with our life- surely that wasn’t living!
I’ll start with
what it means to be dead. To be dead is to be rigid, stiff, decomposing,
silent, and non-growing. But even in the realm of nature, death and life aren’t
so different. Walk through a forest untainted by man; death unfolds all around,
but is constantly giving way to new life. Really, it is simply transformation.
It turns out that life has no opposite- it’s more appropriately stated that the
opposite of death is birth.
So what does it
mean to truly live? Life is flowing, exuberant, intelligent, and peaceful. It
is a knowing force that fills our very being and universe, and ultimately a
mystery to science and religion alike. I would say that living in a true sense
is to be at one with this force- allowing it to unfold in one’s life like a
blossoming flower. Living is being the dance that the universe loves to watch.
There is a more insidious type of death that is possible while still ‘alive’-
you can observe it on a day of people watching. You will find a surprising
diversity of painful grimaces worn on the faces, as they eagerly move towards
some future fantasy or other, ignoring the waterfall of living energy in the
moment. The mind and heart ossify like fossils under these intense conditions.
My suggestions are threefold: Smile at strangers (big, toothy grins); take a
dance class; breathe. Life happens to be an expert in all three.
Life simply sings, and to live is to be the
melody. A living person glows; they ‘go with the flow,’ and seem to find joy in
the little things. Living always draws surprise from those who are dead: “You
did that? Are you crazy?” or “That’s impossible!” Try telling those things to
someone who is living. They are too wrapped up in the song to notice.
Blessings, and Namaste 😀