Friday, January 7, 2011

Patience as we write/read/participate in the story of our life

One of my teachers, Dr. Douglas Brooks is always telling wonderful Rajanaka tantra stories. As he tells these stories that are full of teaching and full of different characters he always points out that as a yogi, we are all the characters AND the writer and the readier of the story. I remember when I was little and my parents would tell my stories I would always identify with one of the characters (normally the hero). But Douglas says that we are not just the hero but also the villain, the masculine, the feminine, that we are in fact every character. And we are the writer. Douglas also says the yogi needs to make sure not to get ahead of the story. Because we are all the characters and the writer we need to go through the story and allow it to unfold. If I am reading or writing a book and I am on page 16 but I am thinking about what happens in 3 chapters on page 113, or even what will happen at the end of the book I will miss the learning opportunity and I wont be mindful about what is currently being written which will change the way the story is being written and what will happen on page 113. So with the new year just starting, it is like we are starting another chapter. It is our job to stay present with what is happening word by word, page by page, lesson learned by lesson. So by the time we make it to page 365 the end on 2011 we will have been able to direct the story where we want it. Right now we are only on day 6, no need to get ahead of our self.

We often talk about samskaras in yoga, which are these cycles that keep appearing to us in our life over and over again and until we learn from them they will just keep on appearing. I normally use the example of dating: you can date someone who has the problem, and then the next person you date will have a similar problem maybe even amplified and this will keep happening over and over and over again until you learn your lesson. I think a lot of samskaras keep repeating themselves because we are not present as we write that part of our story, or maybe we are refusing to learn from one of the characters because we are too busy worrying or planning what will be happening three chapters from now.

I think this has a big connection to yoga asana, the poses we do on our mat because we don’t just come to our mat and can do all the advanced poses. No it is this steady disciple over time, page by page, practice by practice that one day allows us to express a more refined variation of a pose.

One of the words I have been thinking a lot about this year as I get busier is patience. Patience means “endurance through any situation”. It requires a great deal of patience to stay with the story page by page even when it seems boring or is full of hurt and suffering, it is endurance through anything. We can cultivate patience in our practice by having the endurance through any pose even if that means backing out of the pose and having the endurance to maintain a modified variation even when you really want to do a more advanced variation but know that it wouldn’t benefit you.

Patience: endurance through any situation
Endurance: the power to withstand hardship or stress
ability, capacity, continuing, courage, enduring, forbearance, fortitude, grit, guts, heart, holding up, patience, perseverance, persistence, stamina, strength, tolerance, vitality, will, withstanding

We don’t want to be: vulnerable, gutless, spineless, wishy-washy, flimsy, powerless, forceless, and unforceful

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