In the presence…

There was a bat in yoga class today.

Now you have to understand…I HATE bats. I detest how they flit about in erratic ways. They are unpredictable, and in their frenzied state, I’m afraid they are going to dash into me.  You just never know, and they are so darned hard to get rid of!  Usually, I choose to run away from them. In fact, the last time one flew into our house, I locked myself in the bedroom until my husband got him out.

So there we were…enjoying an incredibly soulful yoga class on a rainy morning, when in flits this unwanted visitor. He roared down the middle of class, grazing yogis on the shoulder, even fluttering into their hair. Immediate disruption. Peace, gone.

We stopped our practice…ducking, slightly confused, the way forward blocked by indecision on how to proceed. While some bravely stood to deal with the bat, I assumed Child’s Pose. I contemplated leaving but realized the better choice was to get as far down on the mat as I possibly could as this black beast zoomed all around the room.   Finally, he flew out the double doors that had been opened for him. With sighs of relief, we gathered ourselves and settled back into our practice…problem solved.

15 minutes later, he came back.

This time, I chose a different mindset. We all did. As he flew by the face of the young woman beside me, we kept going. I was engrossed in what we were creating in class. It had been way too long since I had been to yoga. I was feeling empowered once again by strength, peace and an inspired state after a long period of inactivity…and it felt good.  I choose not to have that disrupted. There was also a lovely sense of community as practice progressed. We were a diverse group in age and ability, and there was a unified harmony as we moved through class with our own varied expressions. The bat settled on the wall, and we continued, undisturbed.

As I lay in Shavasana, a phrase from the 23rd Psalm came to me “in the presence of mine enemies”.  It occurred to me, our work, our activity, our progress and our peace can all move forward even in the presence of an “enemy”.

Now there are different types of enemies.  An enemy can come in the form of problems, disruption, chaos, misunderstanding, rumor, gossip. Others are more destructive, personal and are found in blatant attacks against us. But once again, no matter how aggressive the enemy, we can move forward, we can have peace, we can stand our ground effectively in the middle of their presence.

We tend to think that we need to be free of the dissention, the conflict, the chance of being attacked before we can find a sense of peace.   We think that an enemy or a problem needs to go away before we can move forward.  Or, we tend to think we need to change someone or affect their character or chosen nature before we can regain our equilibrium.

This morning I saw that the bat did not need to leave for me to act. He didn’t need to go away for me to have a sense of peace.  The erratic nature of the bat did not need to impede my activity.  Also, I didn’t need to change that winged beast and make him something other than a bat.  He could be a bat and I could move forward, and that choice was entirely up to me. Obviously this is a small example, but I so appreciated the lesson behind it.  And rather than running away, at the end of class, I walked away empowered, inspired.

I’m grateful for the lesson learned from that beady and erratic little guy with wings.




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