've been dabbling with the idea of boredom and assimilation. As a society we have a tendency to use, abuse and accumulate objects, relationships, moments, ect...We are accumulation junkies, the more the better. Assisting Sharath Jois here in Mysore I realize that happens even in our yoga practice, we want to learn more, we want to do more. And yet do we even know what we have? Do we know what to do with what we have? Have we sat to reflect if in fact we really do need more? Where is that wanting coming from?
I know I can speak for myself, I spent years coming here to Mysore searching for the next posture, the next teaching, more friends, more temples, more massages. You name it I've done it. This year I've taken a different approach, I've challenged myself to explore what it's like to be bored, and what stands behind boredom. I'm a two weeks in and this far this is what I have discovered:
The first few days I thought I was going to go crazy. I set out to ask myself after practice what I felt like doing, instead of making plans ahead of time. Each morning I discovered I wanted quiet time and solitude. As I followed that instinct I noticed my mind refusing to go along with the plan. The urge was to read my book, write my workshops for this 2019 retreat season, journal and stare at the moon on both ends of the day. Turns out my mind refused to follow along. I spend most of the first week trying to resist the mind's incessant effort to push me off track. I held ground.
After this initial hump, my nervous system began to settle, my mind began to understand it had no chance to win, so I began to feel the pull to do the simple things I set out to do. Of course this was not a 24 hr sensation, I still am fighting the urges to pull away from stillness, but the seed had been planted and the roots were beginning to grow. My sense driven mind knew that it would not get what it wanted, so there was less resistance to just being.
What I've began to rediscover is the importance of non doing in order to receive the benefits of what we set out to do. If we are constantly doing, even if the doing is healthy (example: eating all the superfoods, taking all the supplements, reading all the right books, taking all the right classes, doing all the meditation and pranayama practices, practicing yoga everyday without a day off....) we are not giving our bodies and minds the space to assimilate the wisdom gained from the activity we are involved in. Vigneswaran, my philosophy teacher out here in Mysore gave a really good example of this while discussing the Ganapati Upanishad, he said: "Apple has vitamins, but the vitamin cannot enter you and become part of you unless you eat and properly chew the apple, one bite at a time. Then only the apple will be turned into vitamin and the vitamin will turn into you."
The power of the mind is far grater then that of the will, it tricks you by waiting for when all your guards are down, and slides in. Before you know it you are doing something you were trying to avoid. We must always be watchful, this is why sadhana, or a disciplined practice is so important. It keeps us on point, it gives us an external structure off of which to build strength within. It is only when we have this strength that we can willingly choose and not be pushed around by the sense driven mind.
Doing less and taking time to assimilate and ponder on the things you gather allows for deep inner transformation. Doing and accumulating experiences only continues to reinforce old habits and keeps you living on the surface. Life is too beautiful to stay on the surface. There is so much depth in our existence, what a gift to be able to have the courage to refrain from the constant busing ourselves and choosing to rather look at what we have and assimilate it, take it in. You might find some unexpected truths and some deep decisions to be made. This is what practice is there for. To keep us real and searching without rather then without.
I'm exited about this year's topics:
The obstacles of Yoga: an exploration of the 9 obstacles, how they manifest and how to overcome them.
Samyama: an exploration of the three internal practices of the 8 limbs of yoga.
Mantras and Prayers: an in depth look at the chants and mantras used in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition.
If you wish to join me, there are still 4 spots to be taken, just email me :)
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