From the Unreal to the Real

The last few days have been so magnificent - beautiful, sunny, warm - and I've had the pleasure of listening to the joyous chirping of birds while sitting during my morning meditations. I thought to myself, as I heard them this morning, how wonderful it is to be alive!

Yesterday, I went down to the river to see if more of it had unfrozen, and indeed it had. Just a few feet were remaining alongside the riverbank. Still, there were people walking on the ice, which was not smart. I watched with interest, taking in the way a very experienced kayaker maneuvered himself over the ice and onto the river...

He slid his kayak over the ice and deftly launched himself sideways onto a river with very strong currents. Shortly before getting into the water, this kayaker talked a couple of very inexperienced men out of going into the water. They were not properly attired and he impressed upon them that the water temperature was 37 degrees, noting the impact it would have on them. The currents were strong, and the river was certainly to be respected!

Today, I reflected on what is real - and what is unreal in my yoga classes. So often, the things we think are real - are truly not. The things we often feed by our attention and our thoughts, are not the things that are real...For example, two people will look at the same situation and always see it differently. Whose viewpoint is real - and which one is unreal?

Looking out into the river, its true conditions seemed deceptive. It was warm - nearly reaching the 50's. There was a part of me that briefly considered going in - but in my heart of hearts, I knew that was not what I should do - though I deeply longed to get in. The conditions could be dangerous.

So many scriptures and traditions teach us - that much of what we attend to in this material realm is really illusion. Paramahansa Yogananda often referred to this world as a movie. We come here to play out a role and learn our lessons - but this is not our home - and this reality we accept as given is not real. Quantum physics supports so much of this as well. And, many current authors, such as Eckhart Tolle constantly write and teach about is real, what is important, and what distracts us from our true nature and task.

I ended my class this morning with this well known passage from the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad, which has been recited throughout hundreds of centuries and has as much to teach us today, as it did to the ancient sages and seers, who first recited it. It is a beautiful prayer with which to start and end the day - particularly in these very confused and fearful times when so much bad economic news dominates our airwaves and our thoughts. Even in the midst of such dire news - many wonderful things happen, if we can look beyond what seemingly presents itself to us as real...

"Lead me from the unreal to the real;
from darkness into light,
and from death to immortality."


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