September 19-24, 2014
This article/blog has been a long time coming. I have put it off for literally weeks. It’s seemed like the thing to write but… resistance! Ever felt that way? I figure most people (everyone?) have experienced that at some point. I mention that only because it is part of what I am going to write about here.
I teach. It’s the job that’s been given to me to do and a gift and something that I love to do. I try to meet people where they are at and move forward from there. If you’ve been in my class within the past year or 2, maybe you have experienced that I don’t seem to hold back in my sharing. In the moment of teaching, that is true, but as a general attitude and philosophy, I feel very reserved in what I share about yoga, especially about what can happen in and from the practice. I feel kind of like I’m teaching 4th grade, or 8th grade or whatever, math, for instance, but am daily doing differential equations (advanced calculus, in case you don’t know what that means. Yes, my engineering degree has to find its way OUT sometimes… but DON’T ask me to actually do any differential equations!! 🙂 I am and will continue to be COMPLETELY free about HOW to practice which is KEY to me, but as far a what could be construed as yoga “philosophy” or deeper practices and perspectives, I tend to share only when asked a direct enough question and from someone with what appears to be a receptive attitude.
Recently contemplating this internal attitude in front of my altar after my meditation and prayer practice, the thought occurred, “If I was going to die very soon, what would I want people to know.” IMMEDIATELY the answer was there! I would want people to know that the PEACE everyone is seeking is REAL!!! and that as far as I can tell, it exists Inside (but Everywhere) as a Radiant Loving Presence. We don’t need to GO anywhere or GET anything or create any kind of special situation for it to be there. But paradoxically we DO need to work for it. And work hard! Of course I know all the Yoga philosophy and I assume everyone has heard about the concept of Enlightenment or God or SelfRealization as the ultimate Goal of yoga practices. I do share Yoga philosophy with my yoga teacher trainees, but really only because since I think they should know it, especially if they are going to teach yoga. Really, however, I think philosophy or the idea of Enlightenment (or whatever you call it) is of no value UNLESS one takes the practical STEPS to Realize and EXPERIENCE what it is pointing at. The worst case scenario is for any person to expound yoga (or any) philosophy without endeavoring to practice, experience and LIVE it. A better case scenario in my book is don’t know anything about yoga philosophy but practice regularly with dedication and sincerity and the End will inevitably be revealed in its own time.
I am not “enlightened” or “GodRealized” or anything like that. I am very clear that I have much farther to go on the Path. But it seems to me that if a person hears of Enlightenment/Self/GodRealization, then that person either believes it, or doesn’t and just lets it go.
For some of the people that believe in the idea of Enlightenment and believe that some beings have Realized That, that Idea/Goal will be a motivating force in their life (to a greater or lesser extent); these are the faithful, who take someone else’s word for it, but then take some repeated action (practice) to move in that direction. For some “believers” though, it will remain merely an idea, a dream, no more useful than any other dream a person might have and never follow; these people hear and believe but make no conscious effort in that direction to see if that Goal is true or not.
And here is part of my hesitation sharing what I would want to “if I were going to die soon:” everyone already has the INFORMATION, and everyone does whatever they are going to do anyway, no matter what I, or a greater Soul than I like Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed or whoever, say.
Perhaps those who make no effort on the Path believe “that that Higher Realization may exist but is only for other people.” As long as a person holds that thought it is TOTALLY TRUE… and a cop out. Or maybe a person would believe it’s too hard or too much work. As far as I can tell, if a person is on the Path to Real Peace, then it will be hard work and it will get ugly and there will be challenges at times, but isn’t that true for everyone?
And is there anything inherently wrong with some effort and challenge in the direction of a deeper Peace and an allencompassing Love? After all, the ego doesn’t let go so easily, as WE ALL KNOW from personal experience! Certainly there are easier quicker ways to (shortterm) happiness, but for myself, though I still enjoy things that bring shortterm happiness, something in me drives me (however weakly) to realize God and the “peace that passeth understanding.” I think everyone has that drive inside, though the Goal may (should naturally) be stated differently by different people. That drive may, however, be covered up by conflicting desires and wants and fears, not to mention the HUGE AMOUNT of practice and training in seeking short-term happiness and attempting to avoid (short-term) pain.
Anyway, there’s my little sharing from my heart. TRUE PEACE EXISTS and I believe everyone can experience it. That is probably not new INFORMATION for anyone. Information is not enough. What have we already chosen to do with it? What do we choose to do with it now?