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The Profound Pause ....
an unsuspecting door to truth.


“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement.
But the opposite of a profound truth is another profound truth.”

Niels Bohr, Danish physicist (1885-1962)

“What if... ” begins the constant questing of toddler minds as they bridge from antics into articulation. Words become a vehicle for communication, and we hardly embrace any sign of learning more than the capacity to speak.

But the journey from the womb’s participation mystique, past the preverbal intimacies of somatic listening, sheds many of the gifts we consciously seek in spiritual development. After the painstaking process of learning how to say, “Please and thank you,” we struggle through the abstractions of math, grammar and behavioral boundaries. We internalize, “Yes, I may,” and “No, I may not.” We learn interpersonal function in order to keep us cozy in the blanket of family and social community. Growth, development and accelerated performance are monitored from the very first visit to the doctor’s scale.

Welcome to the temporal land of physical reality (or maya in yoga speak).

As we mature, the scale takes on different proportions. Report cards, sports awards and artistic acknowledgements evolve into job promotions, partnerships and company bonuses. We acquire, we design, we marry, we continue to accelerate the momentum of perceived development.

That is, we continue until we are given pause. When an agenda is interrupted, we put temporal reality on hold. Like an important call which interrupts a formal meeting, divine intervention embodies accidents, illness and ethical dilemmas. No, not as judgments by God. More as an invitation from our forgotten Self, our values are put on the vertical scale.

Meditation, asana and chanting are a few ways that allow us to consciously invite a linear pause. When the world feels as though it’s moving too quickly, sitting in silent non-action slows the revolving world in as little as two minutes. Sometimes that two minutes is all we need to rejuvenate, to spiritually reconnect and to regain our personal center. Linking body and breath movement can assuage runaway worries through perceptual balance. Raising vibration through sound can dissolve distortion and soften angst.

Creating suspension of momentum can also create unrest. That holy pause facilitates an awareness of fundamental truth. Problem? If our priorities haven’t honored that understanding, we are required to shift. The psyche which has attached to a mundane agenda is most likely avoiding intuitive direction.

Most of us are very uncomfortable when change is necessary. For heaven’s sake, we lose all momentum!

If our measures of progress are put to question, we’re likely to find miracles. Cause and effect tend toward algebraic logic. This plus that equals a rate of progress I can calculate. Anything else is false.

What if a senseless intrusion initiates an unlikely boon to personal development? What if a malady opens a door that didn’t appear to exist when things were running on schedule?

My parents were given pause when undiagnosed tonsillitis created chronic ear infections. For years my near-deaf experience threatened their need for normalcy. Through their panic stricken years, I remember enjoying long periods of solitude.

Drawing on my blackboard and “teaching paper dolls” important information were satisfying practices for me. Playground arts and crafts were a liberating adventure; supplies were copious, and other children seemed very unoriginal. It wasn’t till years later that I realized we were given directions for making exact replicas of each project. That was approximately the same time that I realized my reading group called “yellow birds” meant slow learners.

Forty years later, I’m watching myself in my practice. Aptitudes for solitude, autonomy and original thought were fashioned in what was termed “a tragic condition”. I find pause when I see ecstatic, full body response in children labeled autistic. The hearts and flowers of courtship pale in the light of intimacies forged through cancer recoveries.

We dread the call of the phoenix for we are mortally afraid of the flame.

Unlike Icarus our wings are not made of wax. We have the tools for redemption if we follow the authentic fire of our inner sun. What rises from the ashes of burned agendas is a refined spirit, closer to timeless reality than to contrived schedules.

“The water is wet.” (true statement.)
“The water is dry.” (false statement)

I am a speck of dust within the grandeur of creation.
I am significant beyond measure within my authentic Self.

Recommended Readings:
Healing Into Life and Death by Steven Levine
Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope
The Scientist in the Crib by Gopnik, Meltzoff & Kuhl

by Toni Zuper
Alternative Healing
Center City, Philadelphia


published in Yoga Living Magazine -- May 2005 issue