MEDITATION BY DR. LORIN ROCHE
A meditation on resilience from The Radiance Sutras,
a new translation of the vijnana bhairava tantra
’ve done my share of stupid things in life – you
know, the kind of thing where you look back and
shudder, and say to yourself, “What the %#&#*! was
I thinking?” These are, I have come to appreciate,
the Wiley E. Coyote moments. There I am, zooming
along, chasing some goal, and then I realize, it’s a long
way down. Zeeeeeeoooowwwww . . . splat.
In cartoons, when a character gets flattened or blasted by something, they look astonished or appalled for
a second . . . then in the next they bounce back to
their original shape. This siddhi, this power, is called
resilience – the ability to return to your original form.
The image behind the word resil is “to spring back,
rebound,” suggesting that life is a physical sport. In
the basketball of life we practice this magic of absorbing shock, healing from the damage, then accelerating
in a new direction.
In daily life, we bounce back from some disappointments and obstacles in seconds, but others take all
day, a week, or many moons from which to recover.
Life’s little steamrollers sometimes bend us way out of
shape. Still, there are moments when the healing begins – when we reestablish our indelible communion
with life’s essence. One of the purposes of Yoga is to
make sure we have many such moments. An ancient
text on Yoga meditation, the vijnana bhairava tantra,
presents over a hundred ways to access our innate
powers of resilience. Sutra 23 of The Radiance Sutras
invites us to pay attention in a simple way, and play
with the relationship of the body and space:
Just for a moment
Forget all of your ideas about the body —
It’s this way and it’s that way.
Be with any area of it,
This present body
As permeated with limitless space,
Drenched in freedom.
Just for a moment, let’s forget that each word here
could be unfolded for many matras and not fathom
the depth of it. A loose translation would be: Enter the
space between thoughts and experience your body as
a void, even for a brief moment, and you will become
free, one with your original form, your svarupa.
The other day I was sitting on the sofa meditating
and idly wondering about this verse. Then suddenly
I was inside the experience. In a moment I dissolved
into void-space-heaven. It felt heavenly, and totally
normal. I was at home in the universe. Then I beamed
into being Lorin again, feeling very refreshed.
Entering the space between thoughts can occur at
almost any time, spontaneously, in moments of grace,
beauty, or love – also in times of loss and shock. We
go there any time we need to refresh ourselves in
essence, in the essential, original idea of coming here