Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Morning- Who is this I?

It is a gorgeous morning this morning. After our morning meditation, Kelly and I are having breakfast on our back porch. I am updating this blog and looking ahead to what I plan on being a fun day off for myself.

I plan to go practice ashtanga with Juan at Castle Hill today at noon. Although the news on that front is that Juan is no longer teaching Mysore at noon after this week. Instead the very lovely and talented Selena will be teaching so I can go early in the morning for Juan's expertise and at lunch for Selena's. So many fantastic options. (I would link to all of this but Castle Hill's new schedule changes are not up yet. ) Then I am going to go to Gioconda's class at Bodhi Yoga this evening and she and I have a girl date which I am really looking forward to. Some swimming and a bite to eat is pretty much the plan. Somewhere in all of that I have a few business-oriented tasks to accomplish but mostly I am hoping to stay away from too much of that today.

The weekend at Castle Hill went very well. We had a small but expert group assembled for the workshops and the talk. I was so thrilled to see so many familiar faces in the room. In fact, it was kind of like family in a way. In a good way, for sure. We worked on forward bends, hips and arm balances in the first class and twisting arm balances and back bends on the second day.

Craig's talk was interesting as always. He talked about how we might engage certain practices and adopt certain perspectives so that the earth plane might be a plane of opportunity rather than limitation. As always, he posed interesting things to ponder, consider and put into practice. I particularly like the suggestions he made relative to pranayama and mantra as well as the straightforward way he suggested evaluating our progress on the path.

He said, as a medical practitioner, it is a very easy thing to evaluate something like digestion. In fact, we do not even have to be medical practitioners to do it. For instance, we can ask ourselves if we have lots of gas; if we are burping and/or farting a lot? Do we have a regular, daily bowel movement at the same time? Is it runny or hard? Are we constantly hungry? Are we never hungry? And so forth. All of these things tell us whether or not our digestive fire is optimal. It is a very straightforward diagnostic process.

But when it comes to our emotional well-being, our emotional and psychic digestion, so to speak, many of us lose that kind of objectivity and we are stymied as to whether or not we are happy and whether or not we are satisfied. He suggested there is diagnostic criteria for that as well. We can evaluate whether or not we sleep easily, soundly, and wake up refreshed?Do we have dreams and aspirations? Are we inspired? Do we have the energy and will to work for those things? Are we surrounded by people we love and respect? Do we have patience? Can we sit with ourselves quietly? And so forth. We really can, without some big perfectionist nightmare taking hold of us, evaluate our emotional digestion much in the same way we do our physical digestion.

But ultimately, his talk pointed to the idea that even being happy, while preferable to being unhappy and miserable, is still only the psychological sheath and is a limited reality. Yoga is asking much bigger questions than those of personal happiness. Yoga is inviting us to a place inside that is much larger (and perhaps much smaller because it is inviting us to experience the place where those distinctions and qualities are dissolved) than "What do I want? and What makes me happy?" So yes, we can endeavor to make ourselves happy but we can also keep going. We can ask "Who is this I who wants to be happy?"

"Who am I who speaks, stands and functions on the elaborate stage known as the world? I should find this out." -The Yoga Vasistha

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