I get a few calls on Moonday mornings, inquiring about the locked door. Often it’s a new student who gets their first experience of not doing asana for the first time and then, maybe looking up in the sky and seeing the full moon and saying “ah-ha”. Usually this ah-ha leads to always keeping an eye out for Moondays. Sometimes there’s disappointment because the asana is still very important. We get results from asana.
Moondays are special to Ashtanga yoga. For an independent, mostly self manifesting place like Near East Yoga they offer, first and foremost, a break in the cycle of daily asana practice, teaching-service, etc. The daily practice has results for sure but without the breaks offered by observing the Moonday, this work begins to appear as one long krama or sequence (which is important) but misses a crucial point in how we are invited to “see” within the construct of yoga practice.
The effect is akin to never sleeping, never dreaming, never knowing a moment of not being awake. Since my ego has no real essence of its own, it’s all borrowed from the Soul (purusa), knowing the Soul over the ego is paramount. Constant asana practice is not grounds for being a yogi. It has been allowed to become so but this is due to mainly to ignorance.
This attention to being conscious all the time has its benefits, it’s the egos reward. Ego is not bad because it’s not real anyway. Not real mainly because it can’t be found but also because it’s always changing. Plus it can guide our energy to the good, if we know what it’s job is. mostly anyway. It’s the Soul that truly abides and the ego is its servant.
So where is the time for the Soul to be known if it’s always the ego runing the show? Better still, where will I come to know myself as Soul, if not in rest and exploring what lays dormant behind my active pursuit of daily discipline and order, as the ego. Maybe on this day, I must simply care for my ego in special ways, as Soul, to once again have a refreshed ego state via its actual potency, and overall, to simply be a soul.
If I don’t rest, I won’t know the value of my daily work when I return to it and I won’t make space for my subconscious to be revealed. And it’s in the subconscious where what’s driving my conscious mind is to be known and sorted. It’s a meditation of the long-haul variety.
The moon teaching of Sri K Pattabhi Jois is very elegant and profound. Not that I can speak for the tradition, I will say that what is available to be observed should be. It’s observstion is for this very purpose, first to know where we are within the planes, and for us to wake up to our true self, the seer, the Soul via not just seeing what we want to see but actually what can be seen. Yoga is nothing more than becoming available to seeing and practice is only for the purposes of removing obstacles to sight. Seeing sorts it self out.
On a Moonday such as this, we are so blessed to have a few modern conditions that allow for obstacles to be seeing be removed . We can see as Soul through the polished lens of our world technology and rarefied senses, what an amazing cosmos we live in.
Building on the eclipse two-weeks back, where we saw, right here in Portland, the wonder of a full lunar eclipse, we are now to be graced with a full solar eclipse that we can’t see because it will be happening in the middle of the day (our night, India and Africa’s day) in the middle of the Indian Ocean which is exactly 12 hours different from us and very far to the south. We are turned in opposition quite literally.
We will be far from the Moon, far from the Sun, alone and revealed in the cosmic line up of the three great bodies that give and sustain us life with variety and stability. In this, our awareness of them and our Self and our embodied self is revealed. What lies in the revealed might be a relationship that is truly ineffable and what is ineffable is always the domain of the Soul.
None of this is simply about the body, the life drama, the right or the wrong, all of these abide in the view, the Seeing, as Self, or the Soul.
Coming to know this, we might take any chance we have to abide this way. Otherwise we can let ego blind us, to carry out its agenda while we miss our chance to rest and know our true form. This knowing, established in rest and view is the seed for future knowing and the birthplace of wisdom.
As I honor the cycle of the Moon so it honors me. To turn-on to what the Moon may reveal I must turn to the moon.
More later on the Moon.
Thanks for reading.