– Hellen Keller
I notice the struggle these days more and more and instead of feeling paralized by it, I am encouraged to work throught it. I have to say this is not always easy and it is surely not meant to be, otherwise I suppose it would be called something different. We can hear a word and put anything to it as we have these samskaras that remind us of how we are to be and how we have always reacted to thought, emotions, words or actions. Just like a record we can choose to repeat these patterns and feed the thoughts or emotions or we can try not to deepen the groove and move toward other patterns of reacting.
I am practicing letting go both on the mat and off. I got emotional today when I reflected on the struggle. Not my own today, although I did struggle, but that of others. I reflect and only try to pray and send good energy and thoughts. I still feel amazed when I see the energy shift. I still say the word coincedence even though I am starting to believe there is none.
I have a practice and so many times I bring that struggle to the mat only to let it go through my breath and through the various asanas that I am presented with. I love the blueprint that I have in my pratice to help me through whatever difficulty I may face. I am grateful for the time to struggle through and to sometimes find the freedom in whatever I am doing. Nothing is really easy for me and I know that people are struggling all over the world. In my little world I think about my partner, my kids, my extended family, my friends, my students and even business associates. It is sincerely the ebb and flow of life I imagine and what keeps me even is my practice. There is no second thought for me these days as I am seeing what practice does and how much I can take a step back and have faith and trust that what I do on the mat centers me and gives me space if I let it. I allows me to tap into my God and my higher self again if I let it.
Sometimes the struggle is so difficult, whether it is pain in the body or in our emotional bodies, it can be very hard. I remember hearing from a friend who was struggling to let the tears wash you clean. I think about that and I am grateful for tears. I myself have used them a lot but I think less and less as I get older and get more grounded in practice. My faith has helped with this and trust in God that I am starting to see just about everywhere.
I sort of bumped into Sharath on the last moon day that I was in Mysore. It was outside the Shala on the street. Here is the thing, a lot of what we do starts there and even on the moon day where we are supposed to be taking rest, this is a perfect place to meet or have a car pick you up for an excursion. So instead of describing where you are and giving directions we make it easy by saying something like, meet you at the Shala. However this is also where our teacher lives. I mean we all flock down there and wait to enter every day starting around four o’clock in the morning and students keep coming till everyone has practiced. So knowing that this was where Sharath would be resting on the moon day and may not want to greet students, seeing him outside his house took me off guard or just sort of made me think, now what, what do I do? Do I say hello, make some small talk or give him his space?
I certainly did not rush in and start babbling. For once, I took a minute to pause and breathe and think. This has been helpful and if you are in the habit of reacting, practice helps to bring the attention to your breath in any situation and let the mind clear. I am sure we are all familiar with the feeling of saying to yourself I should have waited a second or it would have been better if I thought about it just for a second first. It is nice to be able to use the tools that we practice every day in our lives off the mat. Focus on the breath makes everything better.
I certainly wanted to give him his space and I also could not ignore the fact that I was waiting there so I went over and said hello. I told him I would be leaving Sunday. This was a perfect opportunity to share that connection and I explained that I had to get my son back to school and mumbled something about my affairs. I must have had in my head something that I saw in my computer with regards to Yoga and I had thoughts dancing in my head along the lines of the meaning of yoga and how we like to add the word yoga to everything from walking, lifting weights, dancing or maybe even eating chocolate. I wanted to express to Sharath that I truly feel like I am finally getting it and that I so much enjoyed my stay and his teaching and the conferences and my yoga sutra class, the chanting classes, sanscrit classes and the course on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Don’t worry I did not go into all that and could only get the words out that I really liked it in Mysore, really liked his teachings and practice and how I will be back. I made reference to my thoughts as to how the word yoga is overused and came back to the teachings on this practice. He said something like, yes, everyone wants to do yoga but no one wants to struggle. You see in order to grow and evolve you have to move through difficulty. It could be mental, physical or a little of both. And you know, the struggles that I may have had at one time are in the past and new things come up but if I work with the tools that I have learned somehow we get through both on the mat and off the mat and whatever struggle I have today is something that I will get through . . . eventually.