Monday, October 31, 2011

Context Is Everything

I have been thinking a lot about context these days.

Lee was always talking about context. He repeatedly instructed us that if we could maintain an  optimal context for our sadhana and our lives, if we could keep the larger picture of The Teachings in our minds and hearts, then the content of our personal choices and outcomes would follow more naturally and easefully. Anchored in context, we would, as they say in 12-step recovery "intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us." The thing is that without an optimal context, the best we can do is memorize a bunch of rules and follow them or rebel against them, living always in the letter of the Law as opposed to the Spirit of the Law. Or we are left to take our bearings from other people, society's norms and the somewhat undependable whims of our personalities, patterns and ever-changing and/or static opinions.

The thing about context, though,  is that it cannot be forced. We can not buy it and  we can not pretend we have it when we don't. (Not for very long anyway.) Context develops slowly over time as we mature on the Path. We can study, we can ask questions, we can practice and most importantly we can entrain ourselves with people who are steeped in an optimal context themselves. And we can hold steady while the seeds of Context get established inside of us. But the process of growing Context cannot be forced or rushed as it does not happen at the level of the mind or conscious will.

Speaking of which, I have been getting all kinds of questions this week about the content of my choice to resign my formal certification with Anusara Yoga. I understand this completely. It is so natural to want to know "what happened?" and "what does this mean?" and "what are the differences between Shiva Shakti Tantra philosophy and the tantra that Lee taught?" and "what is next?"

I do, however, want to be very clear and forthright in saying that the lack of content-based answers I have been giving has nothing to do with secrecy or even with a desire for personal privacy. On a practical note, I have spent the last 5 days teaching a Teacher Training and have had no time to write. (I have been doing my best to get through the emails and phone calls and such in my off-time from the training. Be patient with me if you sent me a note, please.)

Also, while, in retrospect, I can see that this choice has been in motion for quite time time, I didn't resign with any formal plan. So, its not like "what's next" is very clearly defined either.  Of course, I have a vision and its growing and taking shape by the moment and I will be sharing that as it forms more and more over the next few weeks, months and years.

And, while, of course, there were reasons, the deepest truth of my decision is simply that I came to recognize that my dharma could be best and most respectfully fulfilled outside the boundaries of Anusara Yoga and the circumstances of that recognition (the content) are a whole lot less important than the recognition itself (the context). I also worry a lot about making very direct comparisons at this stage of the game because, at the level of content and things on paper, there are very few meaningful differences to explain.

Also, I  have no desire to argue doctrine or get in a discussion of perception and go down that road right now. I am very well aware that as soon as I explain something one way, I set myself up for others to argue  my assertion.  Mostly, I hope that as time passes and my direction emerges, the differences (and lack thereof) will be obvious to anyone with eyes to see. And if the differences and changes in context and presentation do not seem apparent to the casual observer then that, too, is perfectly fine with me.  And, most importantly, talking a lot about those things  right now feels a bit at odds to the valuable insights I  have gained in walking through this particular threshold. Id rather talk about what I am learning now because its a mind-blowing process I am in.

I  have been thinking of it a lot like an alarm clock this week. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I get up. I am not one to think a lot about the tone of the alarm. I rarely press snooze. I do not think back to what I was reflecting on when I set the alarm the night before. I just turn off the alarm, get up and get on with the business of the day.

So, before I say much more, let me be very clear that the people who have asked me direct questions are doing so in the most sincere and respectful way imaginable and are, in some cases hurt, disappointed and confused by my recent choice. Some, of course, are simply curious. Others want "the scoop" which is also understandable. I am  aware of the wake that my choice left behind me. In fact, I am touched deeply with the kind of care, respect and concern that people have shared with me. All we really have in this life is ourselves and each other and to know that people are hurting because of my choice touches me deeply. I have never taken my place in the Anusara yoga community lightly nor am I casual about my relationships with my teachers, students and colleagues. It seems that my choice has catapulted more than one person into their own process of soul-searching regarding their relationship with Anusara Yoga and their own dharma.

And while  I know that is not an easy place to be, I think it is a very good place to reside, this place of searching the soul. When we go into that terrain, we are doing the necessary work of nourishing our seeds of context. Context, such as Lee described,  comes from the willingness to engage the difficult questions and requires that we hone our ability to make distinctions and to get underneath the surface of circumstances and into the Heart of the matter. Here, in the Heart is where our authentic truth resides. And when we recognize that truth, we have no other choice but to go boldly forward in the name of what we hold sacred.

May each one of us go boldly forward in the direction of our deepest truth.

More soon.


Sara Strother said...

Genius. You have a gift for expressing your insights in such a cerebral, yet heartfelt way. Such strength comes through in your words.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Christina. I admire your directness. You walk your truth, and in doing so remind me to stay open to the changing tides of mine.

Jeanne said...

Doubt, uncertainty, drop to the knees desire, tenaciously asking ourselves the big questions. The context is taking shape and it is the subtext that will be the most awe inspiring, mind blowing adventure. Christina, you have inspired me in the past, I have learned from you. Now, you inspire me even more. Shine on - Jeanne Stone

christy nones said...

love you. plain and simple. the way of your truth is "going to be great." who cares why? the question to ask and await patiently to be answered is "what amazing things will Christina Sell do to inspire the world and her own heart?" i will wait with patience and trust, becuase I know in my heart of hearts that whatever it is, "its going to be great!" love you woman. enjoy this time and savor it because it is sacred.

Anne-Marie Schultz said...

on the completely shallow level, love the new picture. Warm open, engaging, direct. Walk the walk. love, anzy

Linda-Sama said...

I have never been a fan of Anusara yoga, however, your post on context in yoga is applicable to all styles, to yoga in general. great post.

Christina Sell said...

Thanks, everyone. Amy Ippoliti has a great letter up on Elephant right now. I just posted it to Facebook. Elena chimed in on in a beautiful way.

Let's stay above the fray on this one and let the future unfold in a way that speaks for itself.

Dharma, not drama.

TigerChild said...

Pranam, my wise teacher!! Josie Houpt :) :)

Melissa Ravencraft said...

Christina, I met you once at Tammy Brahan's, The Yoga Room in Mississippi, and then I was entranced by what you've overcome in your life. I've read (and re-read) both of your books, and again, I find myself entranced by your wisdom, knowledge and desire to seek out the truth as it applies to you and your walk on this great big Earth we live on.

The na-sayers are just that, drama induced, the rest of us know, through our yoga practice, that we each have our own path. We walk our own road, sometimes alone (but you are not, smile), in search of ourself.

When we find 'us', we share the experience of our journey. I can not wait until you put your journey into words for all of us to read, reflect, and learn from - as we all have something to teach others.

In prayer for your journey,