Today is a new moon day, and in traditional ashtanga, one abstains from practice during new and full moon days.
Many of my ashtangi friends can tell when it’s the new moon or full moon without reference to calendar or sky. They tell me they feel it on their skin, in their bones, in the energy that radiates between them and other things.
I can’t feel a thing. And I’m not just referring to the energies supposedly unleashed on days when the moon and the earth align. I can’t feel auras, presences, ghosts, spirits, or other whispers of the invisible. Even the denizens of my internal landscapes often evade me: the characters and plotlines of my dreams evaporating the moment my eyes begin to open.
I’ve often felt this was because I’m too solidly entrenched (embedded, grounded) in the visible and terrestrial. I’m so plugged into the tangibles of reality I can barely pay attention to what’s vaporous or ephemeral. People I’ve met while studying philosophy and yoga (fields that tend to attract the more mystically-inclined) have often told me that the faculty for perceiving the invisible is a faculty capable of development.
I’m not disinterested in this development (I wouldn’t have tried reiki if I were), but I have to admit feeling a certain amount of resignation. I don’t know if I truly have the capacity and it’s only been blunted by years of stubborn intellectualism, or, if I don’t have it altogether.
And why am I even interested? Who wants to see the unseen and hear the unheard without possibly compromising the peace of mind that can only come from blissful oblivion?
I suppose why it matters to me, why I care, is because I look at the solid, terrestrial reality so visible to me and find it devoid of the connections that, for lack of a better word, seem to make me happy. And I look at my friends, friends who have these connections to the unseen, and what I see are people whose lives seem immeasurably richer for being lived in several dimensions at the same time—people who can wake up, tilt their heads to the side, and smile because they know that it’s a new moon day.
So yes, it’s a new moon day. And while I can’t practice ashtanga, there’s an opportunity to practice something else altogether. And who knows? Someday, I just might get it.