September 19, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam
Walking the spiritual path is not an easy choice. There are days when nothing goes right, when you’re so sad you can barely lift your head, and even harder days when you think you’d really like to just stop. I think this happens to everyone who has made the choice to try to come awake.
There are times when the only thing that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other on this journey, is the faith that “this, too, shall pass.” I know it is perfectly okay for me to stop along the way, put down my bags, get back into bed and go back to sleep, (metaphorically speaking, of course.) The reason I can do that is because I’ve gone back to sleep enough times to know it is just a temporary state of being. I have faith the sun will come up tomorrow, and the next day, and the next … and I’ll be able to make the decision again and again and again, of whether I wish to walk this arduous path.
Because, after all, there are many escape mechanisms built into life so that I don’t have to walk any path. For example, I could watch ESPN 24 hours each day and tell you everything you want to know about why the Broncos traded Tebow to the Jets. But then, ultimately, does it really matter? (To me, it apparently still does — but that’s a story for another day.)
As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit — Emmanuel Teney
Our faith becomes strengthened by stringing together the good days and reaching a certain level of knowing. This knowing comes to us not just through meditation but also by practicing, practicing, practicing not just asana, but all the limbs of yoga.
I recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. In this book I learned, among other things, it takes 10,000 hours of practice in order to achieve proficiency at any endeavor. In order to get to the state of bliss (or calm or contentment or whatever word you have chosen for happiness) it appears I’ll need to get 10,000 hours under my belt before I can fly solo. 10,000 hours is 1.14 years at 24 hours a day. Let’s see, I try to meditate for twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes in the evening. I try to do pranayama for about five minutes each day. I try to do asana for an hour on a really good day, and I try to practice the Yamas and Niyamas during the time I’m actually awake. So that means in … hold on, I’m thinking … in about one hundred years I think I’ll have that state of contentment I envision.
That number alone is enough to make me want to throw in the towel, EXCEPT, while I am practicing, practicing, practicing, I’m actually getting incrementally closer to my goal, and if you happened to have read one of the posts by my friend Joan you might know that, even doing practice reflects in the manner in which I interact with the beings I encounter. So while I have many hours of practice to go before I achieve my goal, I also know that it is in the practicing, practicing, practicing that I have faith in the knowledge that even if I don’t “get it” I will be “getting it.”
Pranayama today will be Bellows Breath. Asana will be gentle, slow, easy. I have not recovered from Monday’s mishaps and found even straightening my leg in downward facing dog to be uncomfortable. While the injury to my left middle finger was an opportunity to remember to take the weight off my wrists and fingers, I can’t quite make that finger straight either. On a plus note, a few minutes in Child’s pose was highly beneficial for my right low back. Going to the mat this morning brought up the question again — why am I so hard on my body? What, really, am I trying to prove? It is something I really have to give some earnest, non-ego, thought to.
Sometimes it is nice to have someone lead me through a guided meditation. I will put my earphones on and listen to this accent (what is with me and accents? I feel like Wanda from the movie A Fish Called Wanda.)
Faithfully yours, Chris