Friday, October 27, 2006

Second Blog

Last Friday I found myself on a plane to Cleveland reading the paper. In the editorial section there was a story about the “string theory” which claims that the smallest constituents of the physical universe are tiny filaments whose vibrations give rise to the different kinds of particles that make up our world. This is to say that energetic vibration precedes manifestation. Yoga would take that one step further and say that consciousness gives rise to energetic vibration and energetic vibration gives rise to form. Still it is heartening that state of the art physics is verifying that if we want our outsides to change we have to change our insides. That life works from the inside out.

I was in Cleveland to teach a workshop at a beautiful studio called Evolution Yoga which was a powerful example of this theory in action. Sandy Gross, the founder of this studio, has held the intention to provide a certain kind of space for her community, the students had all held an intention for their own growth, and I had held an intention to be of service, and there we all were living out the fullness of our dreams.

This principle that, as Deepak Chopra wrote, “What we put our attention on grows in our lives,” is an extremely strong argument for having an asana and meditation practice. At a level we can not see we are creating constantly. Our attention is creating energy and that energy is giving rise to form. Unfortunately most of us believe we are at the mercy of a mind lost in compulsive thinking which croaks endlessly about things we do not want, like, or have and then about the fact that we keep on getting what we don’t want, experiencing what we don’t like, and lacking what we really want. Asana and meditation are a world class means for turning this around.

Steady effort in our Yoga practice reveals to us that we have the ability to bear witness to our own thoughts, that we are not our thoughts, rather the witness to them. As we come to know ourselves as the witness a freedom from our thoughts develops. We can experience the same egoic trains of thought, “sure the rich get to live in those kinds of houses”, “she only has that career because of her looks”, “the driver is #%*!” and on and on without them becoming who we are. Over time we begin to smile at the absurdity of the ego, we begin to pay less and less attention to it, to give its arguments less and less weight.

As less and less of our conscious attention is being absorbed by our compulsive negativity we become capable of experiencing what is true for us. Steady effort in our Yoga practice brings us in touch with the truth of who we are. As once we lived in the din of compulsive thinking we begin to live in the vibrant presence of well being. As we spend more and more time giving our attention to the sweetness, beauty, and sacredness of life, more and more time feeling the presence of grace in our lives, this becomes our reality; a reality which possess its own momentum.

Many of us have created a world of lack, but the same ability that creates lack can create abundance.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

First Blog

A feature of my new life here in New York is that I often find myself walking through crowds, crowds that are talking. If you close your eyes it is as though you were in a sea of conversations. A sea that is at once painfully fleeting and eternal. Walking through Grand Central I imagine the people hurrying through twenty years ago, thirty years ago, busy in their busyness talking urgently about the same things people are talking urgently about now; friends, lovers, family, work, sports, nothing, everything. Five years from now there will be other crowds walking urgently, talking urgently, embodying for a moment the timeless momentary now of rush hour in New York.

Recently as I emerged from a train onto a platform somewhere underneath Manhattan, a woman behind me told her friend "So I said to myself..." I did not catch the rest but I pondered what I had heard as I moved through New York City at 5pm. We really think we have a "my" self like we have a my car or a my handbag. That somehow we have been able to detach a separate self out of the fabric of the universe which now owns itself. What are the implications of this? With a tree is there a myself that is the wood part and a separate myself that is the leaf part? And what about the sunlight that is photosynthesized by the leaf to feed the leaf, and the tree--how does that go down? Is there a stock exchange within the tree to facilitate the myriad of tree to leaf transactions? And what about the relationship between the sunlight and the sun?

My walk to work is about twenty-five blocks and I miss the traffic light at about half of them, this is always the case but I still feel triumphant and savvy each time I don't have to wait at the curb. The other half of the time I am usually waiting at the curb beside someone smoking whose using their cell phone. On that particular day the cell phone conversations felt more urgent then usual. I could hear in them a separate self trying to get the world to cooperate. It was like listening to a bunch of leaves on their cell phones complaining about their lack of autonomy. What's wrong with just enjoying the magnificent reality of being a leaf?

Having a myself means that we have a "My pain", "My past", "My future", "My children", "My wealth", "My disease", "My girlfriend", "My boyfriend", "My victory", "My failure", "My country", "My religion", "My race", "My people", in total we have a separate self; we have a yours and a mine, and we have a lot of reasons to be angry, sad, and afraid. What I am learning is that we are consciousness the way a wave is water. Consciousness does not have rain it just experiences rain and there's a big difference.