Show up for ourselves.
Many of you have heard me talk about the teachings of Yoga being, in fact, very few. We just describe them in different ways. Every week in class, we discuss a different topic, all of which help us understand the whole of our being. Underlying so many of the yogic teachings is the understanding that we contain all the wisdom we need within us. At this very moment in time, we know everything. But, are we listening?
One of the ways we listen is to "show up for ourselves". This means that we prioritize our spiritual practice--our yoga practice--and make time each day to listen. But, as I've mentioned before, if this becomes one more thing on our "to do" list, it will not happen effectively. Rather, we want to re-create our daily practice to be something we look forward to, something we want to do more than anything else, something so soothing and lovely and peaceful and invigorating. Sweeter than a bowl of ice cream. More invigorating than a nap. As peaceful and soothing as a hot bath. As comforting as a hot cup of tea. As interesting and informative as a good book! Remember, every bit of that knowledge in the book you're reading is within you already! How fascinating!
I suppose the problem with "seeing" our daily practice as something this lovely is that we have to experience it in order to believe it. Or, we can have a whole lot of faith in a tradition of wisdom that has been passed down for thousands of years, the wisdom still touching our lives today. Many have told me about the sense of relaxation and centering they experience while practicing deep breathing, the release of tension and connection to their body that they feel in doing yoga poses, the stillness and peace they access through meditation. Still others comment on the wholeness they feel in their practices of selfless service-in caring for an elderly parent, nursing a sick child, helping a friend in need, or cleaning the kitchen!
Now that I've "hooked" you with the idea that your daily practice can be pleasurable (which it can be) it is probably more accurate to help you see how a daily practice makes life more pleasurable, rather than any one particular moment in yoga poses or meditation. Most people will say that when they meditate, the rest of their day just goes better-they hit more green lights in traffic, they get along better with their partner, they just feel better and things work out better. Many will report that after years of a meditation practice, they rarely get sick anymore. Come to think of it, the old ache in their neck is no longer there either.
What if, furthermore, I suggest that pleasure is not actually the point! One of the gems that eastern philosophy teaches us is that our deepest yearning is not actually for pleasure, but for knowledge. Many strive for pleasure for years and years, only to learn in the end that pleasure is fleeting, it is not what we hoped and planned for, not what we expected. And, in fact, we probably learned more from our painful experiences than our pleasurable ones. We are who we are today because of both our pain and pleasure. So, pain and pleasure are beside the point! This is what non-attachment is all about.
When we are seeking knowledge, the world is our laboratory and the bodymindspirit is our subject. Whether the learning is good or bad, pleasurable or painful doesn't matter so much anymore, because it is merely the way in which we are accessing the wisdom within us. It is the language of our soul.
May you listen to the wisdom within you.