Mind Like Footprints in the Sand

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Many Yoga techniques are about placing the Mind, whether we are using the body to hold the attention or some inner image or sensation.  Place your attention “Here”, place it “There”…. Hold it “Here”, hold it “There.” – the practice, initially, is in the placement.

When I first began to deeply explore seated meditation practices, my teacher began with exercises inviting us to place our Mind on a particular image or idea and hold it there for a period of time.  When experiences were shared after the practices, I felt a bit confused initially.  Many colleagues would share deep, meaningful impressions left by the practice, but I had a different experience.  I asked my teacher about it.  When I was asked to share my experiences, I said, “You asked me to hold this image in my mind, and I did.  Then, after a time, you asked me to release the image, and I did.  I don’t seem to be having any ‘profound’ awakenings, just placing my mind and letting it go.”  I was assured that I wasn’t “doing it wrong” and encouraged to just continue without looking for any particular experience.  And, after years of practice, I can see why my teacher smiled at my comments.

Each placement of the Mind in an inner (or external practice, for that matter) is like a foot print on the wet sand – they leave an impression on the Mind.  Sometimes, our placement becomes so refined that we build an intricate, amazing sand sculpture that is a source of awe and inspiration for all who see it.

But like all inventions made on the shoreline of life, the tide must, inevitably, come.  When we become attached to our Mind creations, we may try, like children, to inhibit the coming tide, building temporary barriers around our beautiful mind creation – “I am THIS, I am THAT.”  But, all Mind creations are destined to reunite with the Source.

The water in the sand that allows the impressions to stay is the same water in the infinite ocean of Samaskara.  The impression was never separate from the Source; it was just more tangible.   Once we are comfortably able to form impressions, it becomes our first connection to the Source.  With practice, we don’t need to hold so tightly to the impressions we have created because we begin to trust that we already are that Source even when we cannot see the impressions in the Sand.

What are the impressions that your practice creates on your mind? 

What happens to You (and your practice) as those impressions are wiped away with the tide of time? 

Do your build barriers to stop the tide or do your welcome the completion of one impression to make space for the next?

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