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Yoga is Participation


Despite our best efforts to hold a clear boundary between ourselves and the world, we are called again and again into the grace of living.

It is not that we don’t know the spacious ease of freedom, we feel it all the time. We feel it in the warm glance of our beloved, in the first soft openings of a new day, standing before a stunning work of art, or transfixed before a sunset.


Afterwards we may say "Oh, that was beautiful," but if we are curious, we might notice something else at play. We were not standing there cold and detached. We are not simply a subject observing an object. It is not simply the shape, the colors, the light, the textures before us. We are moved, opened, touched.


It is in the relationship that beauty is born. Boundaries dissolve and we become a partner in the unfolding resonance of beauty. We know beauty through feeling beauty. We are seduced momentarily into a timeless participation with the living moment.


Life is relentlessly generous in this way.


Every moment is an open invitation to participate, to touch and be touched by life. Participating in the living moment is how we relinquish the familiar confines of our self enclosed orbit into an astonishing relational participation with reality. The two become one seamless display of freedom.


This is our moment to moment practice. We are either participating in life as it arises or we are resisting it, waiting for a better (safer) version we can give ourselves to. Of course, the touch of life is not always easy, it is downright painful at times. But avoiding reality is impossible and the stronger our efforts to do so, the stronger our alienation and suffering.


Most of our strategies of resistance are small and hardly noticed, and by increments, we alienate ourselves from the intimate reality of our lives. But even here, no matter how alienated and alone we feel, life opens her warm hands for us.


The invitation to participate is constant. Even the most painful places in us, when simply met, open us with their own resonant intelligence and beauty.


The unadorned simplicity of being utterly available for what is actually presently happening illuminates and releases us into the intimate grace of living.


-Paul Wooden

c. January 2016


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