I am attempting to wind down a bit after teaching tonight here at Southtown Yoga. It was a great night with a full house and many awesome yogis in attendance. The Friday night class is always such an odd thing for because it is a bit of a "getting to know you" kind of class. The students are new to me and my teaching style and I am new to them and what their abilities and knowledge. So, even though I am always really excited to be in town teaching a new group and I am always thrilled to have the opportunity to serve in this particular way, I never feel at my best on Friday night.
Over the years, I have talked to several of my friends who also travel and teach and they have told me they generally feel the same way. And over time I have gotten more accustomed to the circumstance and less affected by the fact I find it a bit awkward. Anyway, tonight I mentioned it to the group while we were in the middle of the class-- kind of without thinking about it-- and one of the students asked me why I felt that way. So I gave the whole rap and then it was the end of class before I knew it and any feeling of "getting to know you" weirdness had long disappeared. The group was warm, welcoming, attentive, well- trained and a pleasure to teach.
The title of my class tonight was Friday Night Lights and I worked with hip opening and we did some major leg stretching and we ended with pranayama and meditation. One of my favorite topics in teaching is this consideration of Light. I never tire of talking about how we might access our own inner light and establish ourselves, through practice, in the truth that is already, ever-present within us. It's kind of an ironic and paradoxical situation we are dealing with in yoga. On the one hand, the teachings tell us that the light of our heart is always shining brightly, it cannot be affected by circumstance, it can never be diminished or extinguished and so forth. And yet, paradoxically, we need to practice in order to recognize that, in order to stabilize our relationship to what has been true all along.
Lee talked a lot about his over the years. He said that enlightenment was essentially an accident. All practice did was make us accident prone. He said enlightenment was a gift of grace and we couldn't actually earn it through practices although we could and should practice to increase our resonance with its Influence.
And on a more personal note, if we bring these teachings down to earth and even to a psychological level, we can consider that no matter what has happened to us or no matter what we have done to others, no matter what harm has been done to us, and no matter what harm we have caused others, nothing separates us from the Light of the Heart and from the spark of divinity that resides within us. And yet, truly, in now way should we take that teaching to mean that anything goes and that our actions have no consequences. That would be ignorance. Someone recently used the example of money- you can take a dollar bill, crumple it up, stomp on it and even send it through the washer, and still that dollar bill maintains its value. So, too, as we examine our own history and the ways we may have been crumpled, stomped on and put through the rinse cycle more than a few times and still we remain valuable.
My dad's favorite and oft-quoted Bible verse comes from the book of Romans. In Paul's letter to the Romans, he gives a similar message and telling the Romans that nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Jesus Christ. Again and again, various traditions are pointing to these central truths that who we most truly are, where we most truly reside is not affected by circumstance, cannot be destroyed, is not ours to give away nor is it anyone's to take.
So, like I said, I never tire of this topic.