The Puzzle of Samadhi

The other night, my boyfriend handed me a puzzle made of wood and string. He told me to get “this” off. I thought he meant the whole string with all of the 5 wooden pieces that were circulating around the string from the one oblong piece of wood, which had a slit through it. After playing around for a few minutes I was able to get one of the pieces off – a wooden circle. After playing for a few more minutes I confessed that I too thought the puzzle was impossible, and that I could only get the one piece off.

Ariel couldn’t believe it. He got really excited, and told me how he had spent an entire plane ride trying to figure it out, and how did I get it off??? It turns out that solving the puzzle meant getting the one circular piece off – not all of the pieces. Perhaps it was in my misunderstanding and thinking that the puzzle was harder than it was that allowed me to solve it. However, according to Ariel, I have not yet solved the puzzle because I cannot figure out how to get the wooden circular piece back on again, and therefor by the transitive property my initial solving of the puzzle doesn’t count.

Often times in yoga we have glimpses of something profound. We have a moment when we experience ourselves in a more liberated way, or a class when our mind calms and we are seeing from our hearts. These moments don’t often last for very long, but they are a window. They show that it is possible to solve mysterious puzzles, and hopefully if we keep playing around we will someday not only be able to solve them by accident but we will truly understand the nature of things.

p.s. I have an update! I was able to get the wooden piece back on! It is official – I am the solver of the wooden puzzle.


About Joyce Englander

I teach weekly yoga classes in New York City, which focus on moving mindfully and gracefully with the breath. I believe that learning yoga is similar to learning a language, and the more you are around it the more fluent you become. This blog is an opportunity to share my thoughts and re-visit lessons from class; to create a bridge for students to translate their classroom experience into real life. I am interested in how practicing yoga can help to improve people's lives and reduce needless suffering.
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