Kashmir shaivism, using the term spanda, talks of the ultimate pulsation of life itself, all being a vibration, everything a play of opposites, a constant dance of concealment and revelation.
Yesterday I when I went to see Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, I thought about about what a dance of moments, desires, emotions, motivations, opportunities, and relationships made Woodstock the phenomenon it became.
I remembered when I was a teenager asking my mother why we had not gone; I had some idea that good family friends had made the trek from Long Island. She said it did not seem sensible to bring three girls under 10. I am sure that if we had gone, my memories would have been of being dirty, hungry, tired, wet, and overwhelmed. Instead, I grew up with the instant nostalgia of someone who was just a few years too young to make it up there on my own. In this contemplation, I marveled nearly as much at the play of spanda in my own life as in the world around me.
Snowdrops have been showing up for more than a week, but crocuses? They seem a little incongruous with the bitter winds and as much a reminder of global warming as of spring. I feel a bit confused seeing them, though delighted.
It has been a good winter. I have learned to appreciate the cold and dark, which gives us time to enjoy the pleasures of home and introspection. Now, I am looking forward to spring, the effusive colors, the warmth, the ability to get back out into the garden.
This time of year, with the radical contrasts of cold winds and flowers does highlight the play of opposites, the very pulsation of existence — in yoga terms, the spanda. This time in society seems to have a similar play of bitterness and sweetness. Staying steady with our yoga practice and our community, we can delight in what we see and what we have, even as we may be worried and working for change. That too, is part of the play (lila). To invite in a steady warmth and support from our practice and our community, even as we see difficulties and challenges, want things to be different, and know that our work may not necessarily bring about the change we seek.