The Conversation: Staring at Walls
There’s a two square inch spot on a wall in my living room where the tip of a black frame rests directly before me as I stand in tree.
It says nothing. Hell, it doesn’t even have the courtesy to look back at me. But it always seems to give me what I need.
To the world I'm a father, a husband, a son, a coworker, a friend, a yoga teacher. And with every one of those labels comes responsibility...expectations. It's easy to get trapped in them. To define myself by those labels, by the function and result of my actions in those capacities. It's easy to forget that there's more to me…
No, that's ill-stated. It's easy to forget me.
You see, I am more than all of those labels. Yes, every one of them speaks to a way I interact with the world around me, but they are just vehicles of communication. Tools to make connections. I am more.
I am me.
I was talking with a dear friend recently about tree pose and how in my home practice I always stare at the same spot on my living room wall. He asked me what I'd gotten out of staring at the wall for two years. After trying to overcomplicate the answer, to justify my experience, I abandoned the effort and spoke honestly. I said, "it gives me everything I need." That was enough. It was always enough.
What I needed, what I consistently need, is a moment to be still and know that I am me.
Maybe for you standing in tree staring at a wall delivers nothing. Maybe for you it's taking child's pose or down dog; maybe it's not a pose at all, maybe it's a jog, reading, singing, screaming. Wherever and whatever it is, embrace it. And while you're there, take what you need from it.
That spot gives me everything I need to remember that I am me. It wants for nothing. It does not judge. It does not praise. It just is and as I stand and balance in tree I turn focus to it and step beyond it, consciously unconscious of this body, the coolness of the room, the grit of the mat below my foot, the breath that keeps me in this place, the beating of my heart, the weight of responsibility, and fear, and hope, and love… And then, there, in the reflection only a non-reflective surface can give, I see the truth of who I am.
I invite you, friends, find your wall and stare. In the simplest acts you have the potential to find the greatest answers.
Who are you?
My name is Alex Rodrik.
I am me.