"Part of the spiritual tradition is to unsettle us."
That's a line from a recent On Being podcast with secular Buddhist teacher and writer, Stephen Batchelor.
The discussion is about what Batchelor calls the immediacy of the mystery. Many traditions have practices of perplexity, wonderment, astonishment, curiosity and even doubt at their core, connecting us to possibility and surprise rather than certainty and answers.
Yesterday I taught my last class at the studio as It's All Yoga. This week the name will change to Ritual. This is a change I knew was possible when I sold the studio last year, and still, there was sadness as I watched the new coats of paint being put on the building as I left class. Never a moment of regret...but, surprise...some sadness.
Batchelor spent months in deep meditation with the question, "What is this?" His experience of stillness and quiet with that question eventually led to a place where the words fell away and the question became a physical sensation, infusing the consciousness with a deep sense of curiosity.
What is this? is not a question in search of an answer. It is intended to help us penetrate the mystery more deeply so that it becomes more mysterious. Where every situation and experience becomes truly surprising. A place outside of our habitual views and conditioned responses.
A non-reactive stillness.
Softening the grip around what happens next.
Putting down the article on The 5 Steps to....
Actively engaging in the art of not taking things for granted.
There is no certainty, there is just the Immediacy of the Mystery.
The possibility of continual surprise and wonder.
A way of life guided by engagement and openness.
The practice is here for us. All the time.
Under the sadness I find relief. Curiosity. Aliveness.
I'm excited to see how Ritual unfolds and what beautiful new offerings it brings to this community. And I'm delightfully unsettled and unanswered with how It's All Yoga will evolve in its next iteration.
So brilliantly described in the Long Way Home by Mark Nepo -- this is our practice.