Saturday, 12 January 2013

You don't practice to get enlightened, you practice because you are enlightened...

"We are not concerned, in Yoga, with some ultimate reality. We are concerned with the way things happen in each and every moment. Within this awareness we can open to a vivid and still calm at the root of all experience. In the absence of turmoil, greed and self-reference, we experience seep samadhi - the embodied vividness of non-seperation. Samadhi is not a permanent achievement or final state in which you rest outside the temporal and unreliable flow of conditioned life Samadhi s a glimpse, even if sustained over a period of time, of the ground in which one recognises that one is free to be in this world without being gripped by exaggeration, craving or rejection." (Michael Stone)

I spent many years completely absorbed in my past. I couldn't distinguish my past from my present, my present from my future or my past from my future. I existed believing that I was my past and because I was my past this prevented me from looking forward to my future and being able to enjoy the present moment. As a result I spent many years utterly depressed.

But then I realised that there is only the present moment. The only truth exists in the present. The past has gone and the future is yet to happen. I learnt that true happiness only exists in the present. Once I realised that this is it, this moment is all there is, I began to enjoy life, as it is.

I began my yoga practice with the mindset that, if I can get into this posture, if I can get my heels down to the mat in downward dog, if I can bind in Mari D, if I can get my chest to the floor in Upavista Konasana, if only I can jump through without my feet scraping on the ground, that all these things would make me a 'good yogi', make me a good person, a great yoga teacher. But these things are only a means to an end, not the end in itself. In fact, I don't even think there is an end!

I began a meditation practice. I make an effort to meditate for 40 minutes a day. I began my meditation practice with end end in sight - samadhi. Well, why not go for the goal!? But every time I sat, I'd get just a few minutes at the end of the sit when my mind would start to settle down. My neighbours banging around next door, birds outside the windows, cars driving by, people pushing their wheelie bins out to the street would aggravate me...and I'd think - "I'm trying to get enlightened here!!!" "Why can't you be more mindful?!" I'm just beginning to realise that they're only going about their own lives, that it is only my reaction to these events/noises etc that is preventing me from getting anywhere near achieving any kind of settled mind, let alone enlightenment!! As a result, I'm beginning to learn the true meaning of acceptance and compassion for others who I share my time with on this soil. It's making me feel a lot better. It's making me laugh at things a lot more, accept myself for who I am and not take life too seriously.

The practice is there for anyone who wishes to take part. The good news is that you don't have to be able to bind in Mari D or sit still in lotus until your legs go numb to be able to get enlightened....the fact is, you just have to try it, practice it, and you're already there....

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