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Opening to Enchantment

“Do not weep, life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we do not want to know it, and if we did want to know it, tomorrow there would be paradise the world over.”

― Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Brothers Karamazov

en·chant·ment

inˈCHantmənt,enˈCHantmənt/

noun

  1. 1.a feeling of great pleasure; delight.

    “the enchantment of the mountains”
    synonyms: magic, witchcraft, sorcery, wizardry, necromancy

  2. 2.the state of being under a spell; magic.

    “a world of mystery and enchantment”

Enchantment in Yoga and Meditation

A few years ago, I purchased a copy of Rose Taylor Goldfield’s book, “Training the Wisdom Body: Buddhist Yogic Exercise”.  I’m delighted with the book, but the best part was that a card fell out of the book printed with the Foreward  by Khenpo Tsultrum Gyamtso Rinpoche in poem form and it starts like this:

HA HA HA! HEE HEE HEE! HO HO HO!

When you practice yogic exercise,
Know your body is not solidly real—
It is appearance-emptiness.
Your body is like a dream body.

Wow!  Think on this for a moment……the foreward to this book of yogic exercises starts with laughter and the suggestion that your body is “like a dream body”.

I know that this is true for myself and I imagine that it is true for you, no matter how advanced you are in your practice, that it is easy to sink into the heaviness of a practice.  This heaviness can be a result of a desire to do it right, to have a certain outcome like losing weight or getting stronger or becoming more flexible, or to try to work with serious problems in body, mind, or spirit through practice.  There is the heaviness of our lives that creeps around the edges of even the brightest yoga mats.  While I sometimes feel the weight of my body lighten as I release long held physical tension towards the end of a practice, the truth is that I am very aware of my relationship to gravity during asana.  As I become more committed to my practice, I feel that the commitment itself can seem a little heavy with burden.

But, clearly, this is not necessarily the design of the practice and this laughing mentor pushes us to consider how hilarious all this is.  Dream body!  Ha ha ha! So I thought about what it might be like to practice in a way that invites us to lighten up, to create space for magic, and to open to inspiration that might be lurking at our door that we could open if we weren’t feeling too heavy to get up and see about all that knocking.

A Feeling of Great Pleasure

We put ourselves through a lot that has nothing to do with pleasure…….we wake up before we are fully rested and put on clothes that may not fit comfortably, throw down a cup of mediocre coffee without even really tasting it before running to catch the bus where we squease into the aisle and hang on for dear life as someone who doesn’t smell all that “fresh” presses into our exposed back.  At work, we have a cubicle and it is piled with papers and reports with post-it notes accenting the hopeless piles of to do and should have dones.  And, ok, maybe you love your clothes and have a fabulous office covered in pink peonies and tropical birds……but, admit it, feelings of great pleasure aren’t what you have come to expect from your daily  life.

But, why not?

Suggested Readings for Enchantment

Books for Adults 

Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
By: John O’Donohue

Finding the Blue Sky: A Mindful Approach to Choosing Happiness Here and Now
By: Joseph Emet

The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire
By: Deepak Chopra

The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise
By: Ian Baker

Nineteen Hats, Ten Teacups, and Empty Birdcage & The Art of Longing
By: Cooper Edens

Letters to Anyone and Everyone
By: Toon Tellegen

Tasting Hygge: Joyful Recipes for Cozy Days and Nights
By: Leela Cyd

For Sharing with Children or Adults who Are Open to Such Adventures

Wishtree
By: Katherine Applegate

Starbright: Meditations for Children
By: Maureen Garth