by Marie Howe (after Stephen Hawking)
Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity
we once were?
so compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money —
nobody hiding in the school bathroom
or home alone
pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.
For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you. Remember?
There was no Nature. No
them. No tests
to determine if the elephant
grieves her calf or if
the coral reef feels pain. Trashed
oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French;
would that we could wake up to what we were
— when we were ocean and before that
to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock was
liquid and stars were space and space was not
at all — nothing
before we came to believe humans were so important
before this awful loneliness.
Can molecules recall it?
what once was? before anything happened?
No I, no We, no one. No was
No verb no noun
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with
is is is is is
All everything home
Eka Pada Śīrsāsana ~~ one leg head pose
There are poses to explore very very carefully all on one’s own, on a day off from taking care of others... Times to both forget oneself and to vigilantly take care.
In the early years of study with my teacher, he didn’t say much to me, but I do remember how he’d say “take care.” I wanted to become a teacher to help other people. He kept pointing me to the fact it was needed to first learn how to take care of myself and to face my problems with practice— whether back pain or depression. This must come first because it’s the basis to gain real experience and wisdom to share with others. When someone who has been there is showing the way and keeps telling you it is possible and you eventually trust them to go there in your practice and face all that you were hiding from, that becomes a tremendous gift. It’s more than the solution of those problems of the present.
The gift of self-understanding gained through practice later belongs to the universe. It doesn’t belong to any one of us.