Ever in the Present
As I pull together some thoughts for the end of 2016, remembering the classes, the students, the trip to India, the wonderful Solstice party we had last week with singing and the list goes on. I sit in gratitude for all of that. Then thoughts pour in about the state of world and all the suffering that is has gone on and continues and then I get stuck. I am left speechless. I do not have the answers to these complex problems. So, I refocus on the one thing I can have an affect on, my mind. I am remembering again the meaning of yoga.
Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. In order to still those fluctuations or movements it would be helpful to know what they are. The yoga sutras of Patanjali explain that the mind has 5 states. They are illuminated in verses I.6 to I.11. I encourage you to look those up. In short they are, proven theory, wrong knowledge, imagination, sleep and memory. Part of a yoga practice is to develop our awareness of where our mind is at any given time. Developing this awareness aids in our ability to overcome the pain that can result from our thoughts leading us astray.
At this time of year we spend some time in memory as we reflect on the past year. A good memory can aid in efficiency in daily life, this is obvious. We can learn from our mistakes as well as those of others. Using our imagination we create a new vision for the new year and the days ahead. However if we spend most of our time thinking about the past or the future, we are missing out on what is going on in this moment. This moment in reality is all we have. Our yoga practice is intended to bring our mind into focus in the body, in the breath, in the present. This skill can be practiced anytime, anywhere. Next time you feel stuck, feel your feet on the floor, feel your breath, notice, what is the mind doing? Steady yourself, so that with an uncluttered mind you can see clearly this present moment. With that steady body and breath, you will have the strength and energy to do what needs to be done now. As I reread that line, it sounds so simple and I don’t want to mislead you. This requires a sincere, devoted, earnest effort to pay attention, without interruption, over a long period of time. So, it is not easy but it is worthy of a lifetime of effort.
Let’s journey on, one breath at a time!