I think I understand what it is like to be Guruji Rev. Jaganath Carrera, or maybe 1% of what it like to be a Guru. As I'm sure he feels when witnessing his disciples do something that is not good for them, or others-- I watch as my students and friends suffer with their own egos that get in the way of their inner peace and happiness. Watching them struggle in poses and in life tears a little at my heart. Why if after I have said countless times to not push themselves, to let go of the need to be perfect that some students continue to struggle, red-faced and determined to be what they cannot at that moment? Is it the animal in us?
I watch as Yoga Dog turns into Non-Yogic Dog instantly when he sees a German Shepard or other large threat. It is my job as his owner (or mother as we call it in my house) to remind him to come back to a centered, non-threatened state. He is allowed to be aware and alert but not aggressive, hair standing on end.
Not attractive and scary to others.
We sometimes get like this. Our friends and family watch as we spin out of control, unable to calm ourselves. In the dog training world we call that red zoning and we try to train the dog to not get themselves worked up into that mindset.
So how do we humans train ourselves to not get into the "red zone?" How do we get out of this state of fear that stops us from being able to breathe through life's ups and downs?
The best way I know is through daily practice of a mindful meditation practice. Hatha Yoga is the easiest way I know of to prepare for mindful meditation. I have witnessed it over and over again. My best witness is myself. If I skip a meditation day (or week) I have less patience with others and with myself. I can witness the mind going to places I don't want it to go-- fear, frustration, impatience, etc. Without daily meditation I have trouble calling the negatives thoughts back, or even better- not letting my mind go there at all.
Guruji often says that the mind is like a puppy. It is overly excited and needs to be trained.
If you find yourself saying I'll go to Yoga class later, you probably need it now. If you find yourself saying, "I don't have the money to take the classes..." remind yourself how expensive mental and physical medication is or anger management classes are. Furthermore, isn't it important to teach our children how to be peacemakers? To teach children, you must model the behavior you are teaching, isn't that so?
The heart pumps life sustaining blood to itself first. It must if it is to continue doing a good job pumping blood to the rest of the body. This is a good lesson for us. Be like our own hearts. Remember to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our loved ones.
I wish you all the clarity to understand that the more you fight against Yoga, the more you probably need it for your growth. (Ah yes, Guruji has said that often as well.) Yoga is about scrubbing-- like coal into a diamond. We are all diamonds inside-- it just takes a few bumps up against ourselves (and others in our Sangha) to chisel away at the build up defenses we have built through habits that no longer serve us.
Remember though that the chiseling comes when we work against the habits that keep us stuck, keep us doing exactly as we were before-- safe (so we think) but not happy.
Ah, peace. May it come to us today. (For our family, friends, canine companions sake, as well as, ourselves.)
Many blessings to you,
P.S. The deadline for letting us know if you're coming to the retreat June 15th is coming up. Maybe you can spare two nights away for your health and well-being? You will be home before Father's Day dinner, we promise.