I wasn’t exactly dreaming, in fact, I wish I were at the time. It was the middle of the night, or rather the wee hours of the morning long before the sun rises over the crest of Earth were I live. And, I was awake, too awake. My mind had become a playground for my thoughts, which ran amok in wild abandon, swinging from the neuron’s of my brain like defiant children refusing to go to bed.
As a teacher of yoga, you’d think I’d know how to tame these wild beasts into submission. I have plenty of tools tucked away in my yoga toolbox, but on nights like these I often find myself on the losing side of the battle. When the stress of life overwhelms me, I am reminded of how much I have become attached to worry. And, usually that reminder arrives around 3 am.
So, there I was, with my eyes closed upon the pillow encased in a womb of stillness, and a mind ablaze with color and action. Then, suddenly, in the midst of it all, the truculent children of my worries dispersed and a metal fortress began to take shape. The metal grew behind my closed lids in breadth and height until it was all that I could “see,” then wrapped itself into a half oval. It was, I realized, a mighty bunker so large and impenetrable I was sure it must be holding the most powerful of weapons known to humankind.
I was right. Even though what I saw inside was not what I had expected.
Floating within his own aura of light, sat a monk. His eyes were closed, his brow unfurled into a smooth canvas, and his lips lifted into the slightest of smiles. The armored shell that I thought was encasing him was nowhere in sight. Instead, all I saw was the monk, floating in his bubble of light.
The angst outside that armored fortress had disappeared and a pure, unfettered peace had taken its place, dissolving that false sheath that seems so real at those times when we succumb to our own distress. And that’s when sleep found me and welcomed me to rest.