How I found bliss in a skin burn

20 Mar

I seared a patch of my forearm cooking today. Read: Distracted self moves the casserole dish oblivious that it has been in oven for hours. It’s a doozy — the burn, about the size of a band-aid. My olive skin will make sure it leaves a permanent scar, something to remind me always of a lovely, though reckless, Sunday afternoon in the kitchen.

Some people are covered in tattoos. I’m covered in scars — from childhood missteps, to Christmas dinner productions to stretch marks left by five pounds gained, five pounds lost, to Caesarean scars, two of them — and two lovely daughters to show for them

I can try to soothe the latest scar with cocoa butter or some such, but it’ll never disappear. It’ll be another reminder of an important yoga lesson: The outer self is always changing. Our hair grays, our skin thins and becomes less supple, and even our muscles and joints begin to protest about the wear and tear. They are all reminders of our impermanence. We age. We change. We get sick. Our skin burns. We decay.

Our true Self, however, remains the same, constant, unchanging – a perfect state of bliss. Maybe that’s what people in their 70s and 80s mean when they say that inside they feel as they did when they were 20.

I go to my yoga mat to silence all the outer distractions to find that bliss and suddenly a searing burn on my arm seems insignificant.


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