On my recent visit to Puglia I had the privilege of being swallowed up by the earth for a couple of hours. We descended into the caves of Castellana, where you walk for 3 km surrounded by ghoulish pinnacles and dripping rock. Each cm of stalactite takes approximately 120 years to form and where they come close to the stalagmites below, the tension is almost unbearable.
This trip coincided with the end of a week training with the master yogi Tias Little who spends hours a day steeped in stillness and has therefore developed a vision of our internal landscape that rivals that of any great artist. The way he describes the movement and pulsations that occur beneath the skin is so evocative as to ensure that one stays fully present throughout each moment he is teaching. To be with Tias is to be inevitably present.
As I walked through the twisting alleys of my italian cave, surrounded by rocks shaped like carrots and dreadlocks and owls and cauliflowers I was aware of the very earth's desire to excite and inspire. My imagination was sparked by what greeted my senses, by the silence that muffled my ears, the pressure in my lungs as we went deeper.
It is a rare gift to come across a teacher of Tias' caliber and authenticity, but to become ones own teacher is the ultimate goal. To have the capacity to keep oneself in the present regardless of the impressions that beg to distract us, to take our mind some place else.
Can we keep our "mundane" reality as alive as this cave? Are there in our very bodies substrata of star dust? eccentric stalactites that just when they're meant to continue on down, jet off into beautiful curlicues and spirals as if to delight themselves? Can we be awake to what's happening at this very moment? because there is none like it, can we maintain the wonder of a child?
Sometimes in our practice we become obsessed by form, please remember that in the body there are no straight lines, you have to feel out your own inner landscape, the subtle layers, the areas that expand, the areas that contract. Only in this way will you be able to let go of what is not needed in order to be open to what is presenting itself to you now.
Slow down, tune in and listen, listen, listen.