So I got home late Sunday night after my trip to Tucson, Prescott and then Chattanooga. As always, these kinds of trips leave me with lots of insight and ideas to chew on and digest. As time continues on and the Anusara saga continues to unravel I find myself with more and more to reflect upon relative to my own goals and aims as a teacher. I have talked to so many students and teachers at various levels of involvement who seem to be working with several themes related to how best to keep studying, practicing and teaching. I find myself in the midst of some soul searching about my own role as a teacher and what I really have to offer, share and contribute.
One thing that I am reviewing for myself is the relationship between High Vision and the dignity that lives in simplicity, humility and authenticity. And before I go any further, let me be clear that I do not believe these things are by necessity at odds with one another. I think that it is great to have a High Vision and a Clear Aim and then to ground that all the way down into the daily acts of practice, appointments and so forth that seem to make up the content of life. Once again we are pulling on that thread of context and content so that they exist in integrity with one another. I am big into this. Too much context and we can live in the clouds and in dreams and vision only. Too much content and we run the risk of being consumed by the mundane drudgery of obligations and details. Strike the right balance we can see that our small repetitious acts of humanity are there to serve the deeper urges of the heart and spirit. Okay, great. That is the thing. I am into it.
HOWEVER-- one thing I keep thinking about is a teaching Lee used to give. He said that the solution to financial insecurity wasn't having more money. He also said the answer to self-hatred wasn't self-love. He said the solution to our third dimensional problems was simply referencing ourselves in a place where those dichotomies don't exist. For instance, what if the answer to financial fear was faith? What if the answer to self-hatred was the recognition that we do not exist as a separate self? He said repeatedly that the answer to a lot of these kinds of problems did not live in their opposite but in getting off the question all together.
So the thing is that we all want to give up feeling unworthy, right? But its pretty hard to actually give up feeling superior. We all want to give up feeling different and outcast, but are we ready to give up feeling part of an elite group or belonging to the "in crowd"? We all want to give up feeling afraid, unable and so on but can we part with feeling invincible, uniquely talented, special and so on? (And before we get worried here, I am not talking about giving up positive self-regard that tells us that sees our worth truly, that knows we are wanted and recognizes our competence and capacity.) I am simply reminding myself and others that the answer to what plagues us, is not always what it seems.
And this relates to Big Vision because Big Vision can run the risk of feeding grandiosity and a sense that nothing is actually as bright and shiny as it is supposed to be. I watch it all the time in myself and others these days. I mean, what if we were just to teach hatha yoga, not the "most sophisticated and elegant method of yoga ever"? What if we just had some good friends we were walking the path with, not "a world-wide community of like-minded and like-hearted people who were both tight-knot and loosely bound"? What if we just helped people with the postures and didn't try to "facilitate a heart-opening, inspirational encounter with the Essential Self through the expression and physicalization of virtue"? What if we just reminded ourselves and others that we have a body and there is something more and we simply looked for signs and experiences of the "something more" in our lives without having to claim superior knowledge of the ins and outs of thousands of years of philosophy?
I mean, what, god forbid, if we were ordinary?
Now, don't get me wrong, there are times to drink from the well of inspiration, and Vision. There are times to allow the veils to come apart, to thin from the experience of the deep sanctity that lives at the hart of these teachings and these practices. We are, after all, free to live into any story we chose about the thing we call our life. One of my favorite teachings from Werner Erhardt is that that "human beings are meaning making machines" so that means we can give whatever meaning we choose to the challenges and triumphs our lives. We really can live a larger story than our circumstances. And anyone who knows me knows that I prefer to see myself as Arjuna on the battlefield than as victim of misfortune. So I am all for that. I really am. I am, as I say so often, into it.
All I am saying is that I also think we have to keep an eye on the opposite side of that tactic so as not fall into a different trap. We have to stay connected to the ordinary, to our humanity, to the simplicity of life as it is.
All right, anyway- more could be said, but this is long enough.
A moment for shameless promotions-- I am offering a webinar on sequencing. Info below--
Pinnacle Poses in Practice and in Classes:Sequencing Strategies Webinar with Christina Sell
Dates: June 6, June 13, June 20
Time: 5:00-6:15 pm Central Time Tuition: $99
All sessions will be recorded live and will be available for download for registered participants so it is not necessary to attend the webinar live.
*Have you been teaching and practicing from a basic template of postures for a while? *Would you like help exploring new and creative approaches toward the postures? *Would you like help sequencing classes for a variety of levels so that every student can be successful? *Do you want help deepening your knowledge of the postures and how they relate to one another?
This 3-part webinar is will explore several sequences developed by Christina Sell and will examine some of the underlying principles behind sequencing toward a pinnacle postures. This is a perfect webinar for experienced students and teachers who want to be more precise in their practice and teaching and learn practical strategies for working more effectively. Christina, known for her clarity, precision and creativity will walk through each sequence and discuss various approaches and adaptations to the sequences given. Students will be provided with a handout of the sequences for note taking and personal reference. A text function is enabled throughout the call so students will be able to ask questions during the presentation.
Course Outline: Week #1- Overview of Basic Sequencing Strategies; The General Template; Decoding Light on Yoga Week #2- Back bend emphasis- Working toward Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana Week #3- Twist Emphasis-- Working Toward Pasasana