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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
Karen is a yogini, writer, student, teacher and meditator. She founded Garden Street School of Yoga in 2000. Karen lives with her husband Chris. They have two amazing sons, Eli and Leo (both of them young men).

Jul 23, 2009

Center of the Wheel

My friend, a very wise and serene woman and a long term Yogini, surprised me recently when she told me her relationship to time feels torturous. I get that! At any given point in a day, I may be doing one thing and pulled apart and scattered (in my mind) by the sense that I should be doing 10,000 other things. I either worry whether the one thing that I AM doing is the best use of time or I know that it is not - but feel trapped by responsibility and chained to the mundane.

And then I go swimming. I have been swimming a lot lately. I do laps and japa practice. Back and forth I lap, just attending to form and breath and movement and mantra. Gradually my mind distills inward and moves towards the center of the turning wheel that is my life. My arms and legs move like spokes out of the center of the wheel. And I lap back and forth. This is not a very important activity! Swimming back and forth in a pool is definitely not productive. But as I swim I locate myself at the center of the wheel, knowing I am the one turning the wheel, awake to and consciously participating with the Divine Turning of the Wheel. That IS important. I am no longer located in my awareness at the outer edges of the wheel, being dragged along or torn up by the torturous turning of time. Instead, I am re-membered to the middle. And life is good. And I know, at that moment at least, that it does not really matter WHAT I do. It matters where my consciousness is located while I do it.

I would find swimming laps to be unbelievably boring if it were not a form of yoga for me. It yokes my mind and body to the hub of the wheel of my Self. Swimming, like every other Yoga I practice, grants me access to the place in the middle, the gateway to the my heart. I focus on form and breath, and am drawn deep into the timeless, formless place in the middle. There is so much joy and ease for me there. And longing also, because this is where I can hear the voice of the Beloved. I always feel a great longing when I hear That.

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