I really had a great time at the Immersion this weekend but wow, was I tired last night. I got home and was really wiped out. Kelly and I ate dinner and did a short program of chanting and meditation and then I went to bed at like 8:30. I must have really needed it- I went to sleep quickly and woke up this morning at 6am feeling rested and ready for the day. I love sleep.
We practiced lots of supta padangusthasana work in the asana portion of class yesterday with an emphasis on outer spiral in the top leg and took that into standing poses, vasisthasana, sarvangasana variations. Everyone really did a good job and held a strong focus for the duration. Really, these long practices are not only physically intense, but the require so much mental attention and the ability to stay with a process as you move through a rainbow of emotions during the practice. I feel like this weekend brought some really good asana breakthroughs to the group, which is inspiring.
We spent the last part of the day talking about the Tattvas some more and the magical mirror of Maya. Once again, not easy to consider such topics after a long haul of asana and at the very end of the weekend but people really stayed with it and didn't spiral into massive amount of confusion. Confusion is really an interesting state of consciousness to observe in oneself and in others. In my experience and in my observation, it takes on a momentum all of its own many times. Confusion often starts with"I do not get that" which is not confusion at all. It is simply a lack of understanding. Shortly thereafter, however, confusion enters in and adds all kinds of upheaval and drama to what was simply a lack of understanding.
Now pause the story - Disclaimer-- I AM NOT CRITICIZING HERE. I am simply stating a phenomenon I have observed in myself and in those I have taught over the years.
Once confusion is present in an individual it often spreads to the group and creates a energy all of its own. It is like a smoke screen that obscures access to discriminative intelligence. It is a heightened state for the nervous system and really, at this point, you cannot teach anything, you cannot learn anything, you have to clear the smoke first, you have to settle yourself or the group. Chronically confused people are often unaware of how their confusion actually perpetuates itself and impedes their learning process. As a teacher, for me it is palpable when confusion enters a group and the level of anxiety is increasing due to its effects.
And really, some people go to confusion more readily than others. Some people are way more anxious at the stage of "I don't get that" than others and those people generally jump straight to confusion which often functions as a kind of shutting down mechanism: "I am confused and therefore I am out of the game of trying to understand". And again, I think this happens almost entirely under the radar of consciousness so it is not a critical thing I am saying here. However, if we can learn to be aware of when confusion is beginning to take the reigns of our mind and emotions, we can choose to intervene and self-soothe a bit. We can learn to talk ourselves down, to ask questions that are not backed with so much anxiety and we can learn how to be with "not knowing" and keep our access to the higher functioning of our intelligence so that we can learn.
Wow, so that was quite a side note, I suppose... all to say that confusion never really took the reigns of the group in the tattva discussion, like it so often can. People asked questions, wanted clarity and but with no drama and no apparent anxiety about it. What a pleasure.
Okay- well I have some things to catch up on today and depending on how it all goes, perhaps I will stop off at Matt's Ashtanga class.