Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's yoga practice, not yoga perfect

Those are the most memorable words of advice I have ever heard.

"It's yoga practice, not yoga perfect."

From where I stood, or from where I sat contorted, it was that piece of advice that helped me let go of my constant struggle for perfection. (Yes, I am a Virgo.) It was toward the beginning of my second real attempt at taking yoga seriously as a path for transformation that these words were spoken to me. And those words are my reminder to let go of expectations, to stop comparing myself to others, and to ultimately let go--my path is my own, unique to me while at the same time intertwined with and inseparable from all others. While I have no problem with uniqueness, it's the inseparability that scares me because it implies responsibility. All my choices affect everyone else. The cosmic potential revealed by that singular, universal truth is akin to Atlas carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. In fact, I'll bet the mythology surrounding Atlas is meant to teach responsibility to humankind. Anyway, I digress.

Because yoga is practice, and life is practice, it's ok not to be perfect--not that anyone ever could, really. But the point I'm trying to make is that I continue to practice at life. I continue to have experiences, to make choices, and they all end up according to whatever the Creator has in store for me, for us all, regardless of how comfortable the process may be. But I want to share these experiences with you. Beginning this blog is for me yet another redo, another practice session, another attempt to be better than I was before.

Essentially, I desire community. And the same etymological root for community is also the basis for communication. And commune. All of these words imply a coming together. And while you can take it at face value to mean physical communication or assembly of a group, I feel it is more important to understand it at a soul level. Bringing something together means assembling many parts into a larger whole. The final outcome may be large, it may be small, but it is a whole no matter if it is composed of three people or 3000 people. The headcount of the group may vary, it may fluctuate, it may dissolve altogether and be born anew, yet it is still whole, it is still a community. When you assemble with a group, just because you have left it doesn't mean you are not still a part of it. And when you no longer desire to commune with them, it does not make the group less valuable or less whole. Of course, a group is a lot more stable when it is composed of many parts as opposed to a relative few--think of it like gravity--but regardlessly, it is always whole.

Getting back to the soul level understanding: the mind-body-spirit connection functions the same way. As individuals we begin our spiritual paths, attention scattered, feeling fragmented; but as we grow, as we seek knowledge and understand, as we continue to practice life and garner experiences, we become aware of all that is offered, all that we have to offer. We become aware of the greater wholeness, of the wholesomeness of the Self.

Yet all this understanding, all this growth, is nothing if you selfishly guard it and keep it to yourself. What good is all the knowledge, all the wealth, all the love in the world if you have no one to share it with? Your growth is for naught. As you grow individually, you must grow universally. You must give, you must share. You must take only what you need for your health, joy, and fulfillment, and share the rest selflessly. It is precisely the aforementioned selfish mentality that got us into such mess with the current financial crisis. If only all the Wall Street bankers, mega-corporations, and politicians who sacrifice their morals for lobbyist backing had known that all they had to do was share. While I'm not Catholic, I do respect what the Pope had to say on the matter: "Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty." While his statement was in reference to the financial crisis, it's meaning is universal and can be applied to the mind and to the soul. Spiritual poverty is far worse than financial poverty. It leaves you empty, devoid of feeling or joy, not just devoid of money.

So here I am, sharing my experiences with you, taking advantage of the practice of life, surrendering to Savasana (corpse pose) and assimilating growth. A mantra I was taught at a spiritual school I once attended was, 'I die daily,' meaning that I lay down all my burdens, my egoic construct, and I let it die with an exhale, only to inhale once more and be reborn like the phoenix, free from old habits and thoughts, free to become someone new.



No comments:

Post a Comment