I meet with God in savasana, the quiet, still time at the end of a yoga class. We have kind of a routine, God and I. As the teacher covers most of the students with blankets, I instead put on my cozy wrap cardigan, lay down in what’s known as ‘corpse pose’, and meet God in my mind’s eye on the beach. It’s a specific beach, at a house college friends had many years ago, and I can still picture the grassy lawn that led to a sandy path that led down to the water. It’s on the grass that I meet God and we walk down the path, together. Sometimes my mother is there waiting by a large rock, but I haven’t seen her there in a long while. Lately, God and I head out to the midst, to the deep water, which is where I live, spiritually speaking, these days.
At my last yoga class, I was tired before we even began. The active movements and poses weren’t enough to quiet my busy and worried mind, so I entered savasana with a kind of resignation. I knew we were headed out to the deep water, but I really didn’t want to go. It takes a lot of focus to stay afloat out there sometimes, and so on this particular day, I felt a heavy sigh in my spirit. I heard myself ask for permission to go back to the beach so I could rest a while, and immediately felt God wordlessly answer something that felt like, “move forward”.
All at once in my mind’s eye there was a lighthouse, and not in the distance as I’d seen it so many times before, but directly in front of me. This lighthouse had figured prominently in my prayers and in the symbols I had been given; it represented God on the horizon, the source, and the goal of all my deep-water swimming. Now I found myself on solid, grassy ground and as I looked up, the white, concrete lighthouse towered toward the sky. It was a surprise, like an impromptu graduation day, and I felt myself enter the lighthouse and begin climbing the stairs. At the top of one set of stairs, I felt a longing to turn a corner to see what I would find there, but couldn’t. Instead, I felt myself in the room where the light is housed. There, I fashioned myself into a mirror or lens, fitted myself into the apparatus, and reflected and projected the light out as far as I could.
Okay, it’s strange, I know. God always speaks to me in pictures, flashes, and stories, but there’s no denying this was a weird one. Even stranger, as I lay on my mat, I felt the labor of what it would take to climb those stairs to finally take my place as a light-bearer, and it was considerable effort. I asked God for permission to take some time to enjoy my family of four before I started that climb, and I suddenly felt myself on the grass with them, sharing a meal on a blanket. Bliss.
We emerged from savasana and I shook my head at what I’d experienced. Truly, I know how crazy it sounds, and somehow typing out these words makes it feel even crazier than it did as I made my way to a seated position on the mat that morning, but I am convinced that God makes a way to speak to us if we are listening, no matter where we are.
As she always does, the teacher read a bit of poetry there at the end of class. It was ‘On The Beach’, by Mary Oliver, and as I held on to the savasana image of my little family sitting there by a lighthouse on a blanket, I heard her read, incredibly, about four stones, hugging each other, soaked by the sun, on a beach.
On The Beach, by Mary Oliver
On the beach, at dawn:
Four small stones clearly
Hugging each other.
How many kinds of love
Might there be in the world,
And how many formations might they make
And who am I ever
To imagine I could know
Such a marvelous business?
When the sun broke
It poured willingly its light
Over the stones
That did not move, not at all,
Just as, to its always generous term,
It shed its light on me,
My own body that loves,
Equally, to hug another body.
Coincidence? Maybe so. It’s a strange story, I know, but what happened next, as I gratefully settled into my car with my rolled up yoga mat and water bottle, is perhaps the strangest part of it all.
End Part One