Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear….
This was the line Vijay came out with following an attempt at catching my heels on my own in chakra bandhasana a few days back.
He’s been working with me on it daily, one day with him assisting me into the posture the next day I have to do it on my own. One day I fell to my elbows after I lost balance when my hands were really near the heels…he was crouching next to me and as I fell all I heard was an, “Ouch!” from Vijay. I was pissed with him as he was there and watching and could see it happening and instead he just let it happen, let me fall. OK, so I didn’t die…didn’t even break an elbow thank God, but the fear, you know, the fear was there, the fear is still there. But I guess it’s a little less now, knowing nothing bad can happen. He does stuff like this. A lot. To me.
But this day, I was walking, walking my hands in and it was the first time I could see my own heels and I could see how far my hands were away from my heels…and it was about a hands-span away. After I came back up and jubilant and all, he said, “Good” and I said, “Yeah I was only a hands-span away from my heels” and he shook his head and said, “Noooo…you were 1 inch away from touching!! What does it say on those rear view mirrors??...Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear!!” and walked off…
Vijay’s comment resonated with me. It reminded me of how little self-confidence I have in my practice. I could see my heels, but still my mind was saying, “It’s not good enough”. The mind playing tricks on me again. You can’t do it, you can’t do it. Then Vijay comes along and acts as the true reflection of my capabilities. He knows what I can do before I even know myself. He’s like the purusha to my prakriti…the stepping stone between my reality and the truth…
“It is only in still water that we can see.” (Taoist Proverb)
Vijay is my still water.
The truth is you need a good teacher. If you’re anything like me, a little too laid back, a little tamasic maybe and maybe a little kaphic, you need a good push in your practice. You don’t believe in yourself? It’s probably just fear manifesting in a bit of a sloppy practice, which was fine before I came to Mysore, but it doesn’t wash! The practice reflects your fears, your weaknesses, it breaks you down and then builds you up again, stronger than before. I used to think that this was just on a physical basis, but it works on so many levels. You think you have it? Nah….think again…there’s a Buddhist saying that goes something like, ”Nati, nati, nati” (I may have spelt this wrong)…not that, not that, not that. Never assume you have it, there’s always another level, another layer to peel away. But this is a good thing. It means your practice should never get boring, that if the primary series doesn’t bring on a sweat anymore that there is something more that you can give to it, another level to find in it, one that brings on that sweat, that heat, that tapas to burn away through another layer, bringing you closer to the truth.