Give All, Want Nothing

31.5.10

"Consistent practice (abhayāsa) and detachment (vairāgya) are the means to still the movements of counsciousness."

(YSP, 1:12)

Give all. Want nothing. Seems to be the true way of Love. How many really live this? Love given freely. Absolutely. With never a thought of anything in return. No expectation.

This same energy highlights the practice of yoga. Showing up, giving all, wanting nothing. Detachment to the time and effort put into practicing. Seems to go against our result driven culture. Though we are born in the enjoyment of being. How easily it becomes broken down, lost even, this joy of living in wonder.

I've often told students to look toward the practice as a discovery rather than a place to get to, a destination. For, you are already where you need to be, in this moment. Of course we all struggle with this from time to time. I'll be the first to admit. That realization in itself is part of the process.

The paradox lies in the dynamic nature of Ashtanga Yoga. It's challenging on many levels. How easily we can become seduced by the accomplishment of asana in this practice. For there are many. It's in our face. We connect to our bodies. Our obsessions reveal themselves. Often I feel this being the subtle design of Ashtanga Yoga. The method to the madness. There is no way around it really. There isn't much to hide behind. I guess you could hide for a time, but after while things start to implode or unravel. Which again, can be an enlightening part of the process. A definitive part of the path.

The dance of immersing oneself through the daily ritual, whatever may come. Showing up. Some days asking why. Other days asking why not isn't always a smooth ride, but it's a ride worth perusing. Worth experiencing.

The more I slow down, continuing in a steady rhythm, the movement in itself becomes a total experience. The dance of being totally committed, totally invested in every part of the process, while letting go at the same time, detaching to an elusive outcome, is never easy. However, this little perspective has huge impact on how we approach the challenging paradox of Ashtanga Yoga.

The practice has a way of aggravating our ego. Shedding light on the dark spots. There is really no need to judge the dark spots. To embrace them as part of the journey, is part of the learning. The more I've ignored the darkness, and used "positive thinking" to wish them away, the more they seemed to sneak up on me. Naming them. Acknowledging. Allowing them to come into my collective reality ultimately give power to letting go.

I've been around people who have the mask of being self realized, to know much, and often see they are just as scared as the rest of us. What is said in between the lines speaks louder. Being an observant person, the nonverbal part of someone is usually what I tune into versus the words spoken. I feel it. When no realness is being portrayed I tend to loose interest quickly.

It gives rise the simplicity of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois's language when teaching. "You do! You take! Breathe! Bandha! Practice! Take practice! Practice and all is coming." His pearls came from presence. Nothing more. An experiential knowledge taken forth. It's unique to find this in someone. Our western minds like to over analyze, and put things beyond words into language, which in essence doesn't quite hit the mark. 

Sitting in discussions regarding yoga is inevitable. However, I find when caught in the wheel of commentary - is it this way or that way? I find it brings a sense of lifelessness to the process of practice and discovery when always trying to find the one answer. There is none. Yes. There is a set sequence. Yes there is an approach as to how the practice is transmuted, but the way it translates is unique to the individual. Honoring where it comes from, and the lineage is key. And in the same breath, honoring each person embarking on this path is important as well.

Often when teaching I ask questions more than giving answers. What was your sense here? What did you feel there? At first I can see the wheels turning, as one tries to find the right answers. We seem to be set up that way. However, I quickly explain there is never a wrong answer. Never. Not when it comes to growing into our God given awareness. I will never rob someone of that.

Settling into a space of wonder and discovery balance the attachment toward the practice. I sense it on my own mat. When I feel as heavy as concrete, pushing against the feeling. Ah ha. I'm not in a place of acceptance of where I am now. I'm attached to feeling a certain way. What I did yesterday is gone. Over. Today is a new day. A new practice. We are constantly reminded of this. The push has an equal shove. Another lesson to learn.

I'm thankful for the lessons. For the learning. The learning never stops, and hopefully I'll never feel as if I'm the expert on anything. There's always a new place to expand into.

I've seen the competitive nature that runs with teaching. I've experienced it. How once someone stands in a place of being "the teacher" the openness to learn from others becomes closed, and only offered in certain circles. It's interesting. Again, the attachment of the role, as a teacher. Which at the end of the day, doesn't hold much weight if one doesn't see that student and teacher are essentially one and the same. However, that's a topic left for another day.

Through the course of it all we must continually play with this dance of fully stepping into the intensity of practice to then let it all go. Let go of expectation. All that's needed is you. Simply show up. We must meet face to face with ourselves. Our mind. Our body. Connecting to the mystery of life.

Then, see what happens ...

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