On the day Rama was to inherit his fathers throne, his father, in duress, asked, “Oh, by the way, on your way to ruling all the earth from this golden throne, would you mind hanging out in the woods for fourteen years.”
And Rama is like, “O.K. no sweat.”
It isn’t all the demon slaughtering and wife avenging. Rama is the epitome of enlightenment for his strength to be able to accept what is. There is no “Alas, what am I gonna’ do now,” He doesn’t push and fight against life, he opens up to all that comes his way, directly in that moment.
I am fighting here. Struggling against my body’s fatigue. Yoga, yoga, yoga is wearing me down, physically and emotionally. I have a permanent charlie-horse in my left thigh, my right shoulder is shot and the spasms in my back make me unable to sit straight without sneering like Ebenezer Scrooge.
Gurdjieff postulated that our human energy centers have valve-like systems. When we run low on energy another reserve will open if we let it. And when we drive our batteries to an almost complete failure, we all have a super generator that kicks in with super energy, which allows super human feats that save lives in burning buildings and give us strength for great sex and other examples of Guinness record breaking behavior. I’m waiting for mine to kick in now. I need some super human energy.
I am pulling my mind also by the leash up the hill; struggling with my imagination and mind’s wandering eye, fantasizing about the girl in the second row, instead of studying the limitations of Parsvakonasana.
My mind makes me or breaks me, constantly bouncing from one extreme to the next. I have the ability to be so concentrated on one thing that I will see nothing else, like Rama aiming his arrow at the birdie’s neck. Too often though, I’m either looking forward or behind me, what will be worries me and what has been aggravates me.
Meditation and yoga bring back all the sniggering Michaels back into one harmony; they are the solace amid the chaos of life. But what to do when my entire life is meditation in back breaking asanas and yoga is now a job. What is my solace now?
Five in the morning, I dodge cow pies and burning garbage, toddling the pre-dawn path toward Yoga India shala, chai in hand. My body wants to be in bed. My time has been very much my own for quite a while, doing what my body desires. My mornings are supposed to be spent with my ‘mac’ over a cappuccinos in Latte Da’, my neighborhood café. What am I doing here with scrawny cows in India when there’s a woman waiting for me back in a comfy unmade bed far from away?
Opening to the first Surya Namaskara; Inhale, Uttva Hastasana, exhale, Padahastasana, inhale to Eka Padahastasana, Sashatanga Namaskarasana, I know I am exactly where I should be, in the moment. But oh, my body wines in Trikonasana, hardening itself against my requests. I breathe out, not forcing the move. My fantasies of the girl in the second row wane as concentration centers on my breath. I wait for my cramping legs to open a little farther, my spine to let go and fall to the side. My attachments dissipate, accepting the moment.
Yoga is not pushing and fighting my body’s stiffness and inertia, or loathing the mind’s habitual tendencies. Yoga is union between the body and mind in the matrimony of breath. Allowing my body, my mind, muscles and bones to harmonize in each stretch, in the moment, in the movement, as Rama accepts the stretch and movement of his life.
If I keep working my limitations today will be benchmarks from the past tomorrow. If I keep trying to breathe in consciousness, I can allow my mind it’s dalliances; dancing with pretty woman. If I stay focused on the now, each moment, I can allow my body time and space to open, to strengthen. I can breath the ebb and flow of serendipity. I can accept someone else’s beautiful Vrschikasana as I fall to the mat from my headstand.