I initially wrote this piece in the third person. In reading it over, I realized that it can be a harsh lesson, I need to acknowledge that it applies directly to me too. I have found in my life that this has been perhaps the most helpful lesson. What I see is what I am. This can be quite comforting when I am on the top of the world. When the floor has dropped out from underneath me, I am falling and the world is not going the way I want, where does my mind go? If I find myself condemning the world, in a state of resistance or resentment, I know a lesson is at hand. I have come to realize that the problem is not outside me. In some way I am the problem. The world is my mirror and it will not change until I change. I am the solution to any problem that I have.
How do I that? How do I become the solution? First I need to align the instruments that have been give to me, my mind, my body and my heart. This is Yoga. Easier said than done because there are obstacles. Books have been written about this, in brief the yoga sutras list the obstacles and distractions as:
- Physical disturbances, like sickness
- Lack of mental disposition for work
- Doubt or indecision
- When sense objects possess the mind
- False or invalid knowledge
- Failure to concentrate
If I look closely most at my reasons for not practicing, they will fit in the above list somewhere. Why is it important to know what the obstacle is? BKS Iyengar writes in his introduction to “Light on Yoga”,
“To win a battle, a general surveys the terrain and the enemy and plans counter measures. In a similar way the Yogi plans the conquest of Self.”
My example from my own life is when I was about 4 years old. I had gotten a new pair of white tights and had gone down the alley to visit a friend. I was wearing rubber boots as it was muddy. As I was walking my boot got stuck and when I pulled trying to lift my leg, my foot came out of my boot. I lost my balance and ended up in the mud and a mess. I probably don’t need to say that I was upset. Well, I was. I cried. When I calmed down, I took a breath. Here I am, nobody can help. I have to put my hands in the mud, push myself up and carry on.
Maybe I am over simplifying things, to me it seems the same now. Whatever the problem, I need to start with an honest evaluation of where I am at, accept responsibility, know it can be done and take action.
Without delay, I begin again. Always a beginner. Feeling the breath go in and out, being grateful for this breath, another day, a chance to begin again.
Changing the mind, one thought at a time.
Changing the body, one cell at at time.
Revealing the purity of the heart, where all is made new.
Let’s carry on, enjoying our practice together.