I Dream of Water

Ka'ena Point State Park, Oahu, bird sanctuary
Photo by Erik Dunham

I dream about the elements. It doesn’t happen all the time, and it has nothing to do with what I drive (we call it the “Pumpkin”), but it happens enough that I tend to take notice when I do. Right around the time I left my day job, I dreamed about a desert that was hot and dry and every saguaro cactus in sight was on fire. Seemed to me that even though it was my dream job at the time, I still felt a dry emptiness inside that I was not doing my life’s work. That dream helped me make my decision to teach yoga — I missed my dreams about the ocean.

Most often I dream about water. Sometimes the water is clear and cool and inviting, sometimes it is filled with boats and people of all shapes and sizes, sometimes it’s filled with sludge, and when I was younger, pretty regularly I would dream about being afloat on a piece of driftwood with maybe two or three other people in the middle of a tropical ocean and green, verdant, tall cliffs would be off in the distance. We would be hoping beyond hope that we could make it to that shore.

Stress dream? Yeah, probably. And just last night in a dream I was at the home of an old family friend in Virginia Beach. The ocean was certainly walkable from their house. I knew this and desperately wanted to get away to the beach, but little things kept me inside the house. I had to clean up the mess the dog made, I had to talk to people about fixing things, I had to see a guy about a horse. No, kidding on that one.

But the dream made me think: What we want is within our grasp. Shakti, the inherent power of the universe, is abundant and we each are sufficient to our own joy. Joy=Getting What You Desire. Yoga often teaches us that whatever we need, the universe will provide. If you don’t get it, you didn’t need it. The wide open ocean was only a block away and at any point I could have made the choice to go there, and yet I found myself getting caught up in menial tasks that ultimately did not matter. Perhaps some of those things needed attending to, and yoga practice helps one discern what is important and what is not. If you are in the middle of a triangle pose and your hand won’t touch the earth, what tension within your body can you release to at least get a little closer? In the middle of the day when you need to take a moment for yourself, what cannot wait just a few more minutes so you can collect your awareness?

What we want is within our grasp. Not reaching the ocean made me more aware of how I was spending my time. Knowing the ocean was there, nearby, was priceless. The vastness, the depths, the soothing sound of the waves breaking on the shore held some comfort even when I was troubled. The knowledge that there is vastness and depths within our own consciousness can be quite comforting when storms are brewing all around. But it is not just knowledge, it is direct experience. Yoga practice, and meditation in particular, gives a direct experience of that deeper awareness that is boundless, completely free, and full of joy. Spending time with unimportant things is, well, not so important.

If you don’t get it, you didn’t need it after all. Our desires make us who we are. When those desires align with the universal desires, we achieve whatever it is we were after. If we don’t achieve that desire, we just get more resourceful for the next time around. The overflow of consciousness that Shakti offers to us to experience does not end. It might change form, but She will never cut us off. Yoga practice is about learning to move with that flow, you offer yourself, and She offers to you. This embodiment, this lifetime, is a gift from the Universe, how will you make your way? The ocean can provide buoyancy and endless fun, if we let it.


Next: Yogi Detox: Day 4

Go back to Eyes Open Meditation: Part V

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