Meditation makes you accident prone.
If you’ve ever taken my yoga class, you’ve probably heard me say, “Your body never lies.”
Your body has no agenda to lie; its only agenda is homeostasis - keeping itself healthy.
Your mind, on the other hand, lies all the time.
That’s how you can live with low grade nagging pain for years until your body starts screaming,
and then blame your body for its problems.
That’s how you can spend your time telling yourself you suck in some way, or the whole world is against you, or that thing so-and-so said or did is about you, or the things you thought were true when you were 5 are still relevant today.
We believe we are the smartest animal on the planet, but we are also the most miserable without cause.
How smart is that?
How much of what goes through your head every day is useful to you?
How much is worth the energy? How much is true?
Your brain consumes about 30% of your fuel every day. Are you spending it wisely?
Simply thinking ABOUT your thoughts can help you see what’s hurting you.
Then, you can choose to change them.
You don’t have to believe anything you think.
So do yourself a favor, and just,
think about it.
And maybe you’ve had an experience so blissful and illuminating, you felt you’d reached enlightenment, and maybe your life was forever changed because of it. But if you wear “I’m enlightened” on your tshirt so everyone can see how awesome you are, you might still be a ways away. The best teachers don’t need to wear the gilded crown.
Nor do they promise to make it happen for you. They only offer you the tools to increase the possibility, and usually, in humble, ordinary ways.
The real deal doesn’t brag. Doesn’t wear a crown, drive a rolls, live in a mansion, or wear $5000 sneakers.
Jesus and the Buddha were homeless people.
They didn’t put themselves on pedestals. They practiced what they preached, and what they preached was ordinary:
Be kind. Be humble. Be real.
Enlightenment happens by accident. Our practices make us accident prone.
So we can practice being ordinary.
If I start thinking I’m special, I remind myself that we’re all special. And then I practice being ordinary again. The more I practice being ordinary, the happier I am. And that is the path to enlightenment.
Another yoga principle I’m fond of, this one reminds us that the destination is not the best part of practice.
Our culture is kind of focused on instant gratification, and if you can’t do it well the first time, don’t do it, and goals, goals, goals.
But your practice should be about feeling good, not getting good, and there is no finish line.
The first few times you practice, it’s normal to struggle. Then, your body and brain figure out the basics, and you find you can make it through the poses with some competence.
A few months later, you might think you’ve got “your” practice down. There are poses to aspire to, but you can balance, you can hold, your parts are in the right place, you are breathing correctly, it’s all working.
Then a year later, your shoulders open up another three inches and your mind is blown. You had no idea they could do that, it’s awesome!
And 3 years later, it happens again.
It took 7 years of hating triangle pose until one ordinary day, everything slid into place, and just like that, I was in love.
It’s usually small, incremental changes, on ordinary days, when you don’t expect it, or force it, like your leg lining up correctly in a balancing pose, or your twist getting deeper, or your breath, or your focus, or the way you feel the day after.
And they come when they come, you can’t make a list for your 5 year plan.
Recently, I’ve been loving the awareness that my heart rate can go up when I’m working really hard, but my breathing is as long, slow and steady as nap time. Because I teach on zoom, I’m visually able to seen that the grace of my transitions from pose to pose has evolved over time. Because I'm teaching live again, I feel the delight of connected engross energy again, and the high of seeing others challenging themselves to improve. The other night I nailed an advanced variation of a pose I've been struggling with for years. I can meditate with a mile and a half between each distraction. My left side needs more attention. My friend Yinet is a wonderful teacher. Yin is not so bad. And it’s so good, always, to be on the mat.
In a dedicated practice, there is always the potential for a pleasant surprise.
That’s why we don’t perfect, we practice. That’s #theyogayouneed
No cults, no gurus.