Last week I wrote about the sanskrit word ‘shradda’, or the deeper kind of faith that comes from trust in the process… a process that we embark on when we deliberately put ourselves into a regular practice of yoga/meditation/mindfulness/quietness – call it what you will!
This faith takes a certain amount of effort and awareness. It is easy to slip into habitual patterns of thought and belief even while exploring and broadening the mind. In fact, I think the more I explore the world of my mind through quiet sitting, through contemplation, through movement and breathing and staying connected there, the more I notice how ‘unaware’ I can be a lot of the time.
So then, I remember patience. Have faith. Trust. I know this process works, and I know it works in its own timing in lots of ways. I just have to keep showing up.
Recently I read a story about a drama coach who got his students to ‘improvise’ their scripts. The process involved what he called ‘accepting the offer’ – one actor began a scene, maybe holding out his open hand and saying to the other ‘pleased to meet you, Mr President!’ and then the other actor taking on the role of President and offering something back to keep the script flowing. This is harder than it sounds – I used to do improv way back when I went to university, and it requires an agile sense of responding to the needs of the moment, getting the mind out of the way and letting another sort of intelligence prevail.
I was thinking about how many times I ‘accept the offer’ of life, and how many times I shut it down by having already decided what’s happening is either not adequate or wrong in some way. When you think of it, every new breath coming in is an offer from life, and we accept that gladly enough. Yet, this morning when I got out of bed I felt a bit out of sorts, and quickly made some assumptions that fit my mood.
What if that mood were there to tell me something different? How open can I be, moment to moment, to the offering of life even when it doesn’t fit what I think it should be? Or how I’d like it to be?
These are the challenges that require effort and awareness – and the outcome for me of a regular practice of yoga and meditation is the ability to be in still awareness of these crazy-making habits of my mind. I am working on opening up my mind with these practices, letting the wiring shape new pathways and neural associations. It is a lifetime’s work I suspect, not always yielding the golden moments, but enough to keep me hooked and curious. What can this lead to?
Marcel Proust said “The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. Life’s offer comes constantly, and from the most surprisingly mundane sources sometimes. Yet it is all new every time I expand my heart, notice how my body is responding, and let my mind be open and without judgement.
This reminds me that the most critical aspect of yoga is to create flexibility in my mind first, and then my body! Here’s to the lifelong journey of being a truly flexible human being.
REMINDER: ‘Feast for the Senses – Springtime Mini-Retreat’… Rest and renew your whole being while bringing it fully ALIVE… check it out on the Special Events page and come along!