The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Para 32
I thought I had one. I thought I could persevere through challenges. I thought I needed to keep working harder on goal setting. I thought I just needed to do something every damn day. I thought stop thinking about doing handstands and start doing them, every damn day. I thought I needed to make my intentions for real, real farmer stick-to-it-iveness. Damn it.
I thought, a lot.
And the more I thought, the more frustrating I became. To myself. I had lived through the magical life changing effects of yoga on many friends. I judged, I’ll admit it. The life change often came with a cushy ride in a luxury car and a lot of time on one’s hands to attend a high profile teacher or a class where the mythical guru of solipsism herself, Gwyneth once attended back in say, 2014. The requisite tattoo on a lithe inner wrist. We know what tattoo, because we know the narrative. And everyone seemed to be ok with this reality, non-realistic reality, whereby every single person was having the same life-altering experience. Meh, I thought, it’s a glitch in the matrix.
I had been indoctrinated at a Catholic high school on the ease with which cults could mind control young people into giving up their entire lives for a single guru who speaks as a god like figure. Cultists would have mind and body pushed to their limits so it would be easier to convince them to give up their lives and money to the cult. The irony is not lost on me that it was a Catholic priest teaching Cult 101. But I was enthralled with how easily the methodology of cult think worked. It works in corporations, countries, universities (go Badgers!), relationships, and most places people congregate.
Well I was guaranteed to not fall for these tricksters! I’m a free thinker. Sign the dotted line, my eyes are scanning for an exit sign. I felt like a short Liam Neeson, a doomsday prepper of sorts. And yoga wasn’t going to take me that easily. And certainly not modern yoga with the fancy pants with strange holes that pucker the skin into funny ellipses and all the soft voices radiating no fear that terrorism is going to spread and our polar axis will suddenly switch. So, I made a conscious decision. Confront my stereotypes. But really, confront my fear.
What am I afraid of? Who was this boogy–bhagwan shree rashneeshyogi! Well, I don’t know. I’ve never seen “IT”. I signed up for the complete mystery course of 200 hours of YTT, allowing myself full-immersion therapy. Living life dangerously! Unprepared, unknowledgeable, unskilled.
I had one goal in mind. Be open to the possibilities. That was it. I have a long and rather tedious physical history involving professional dance, triathlons, marathons, Olympic lifting, functional training. Basically, most areas of fitness with the exception of yoga. As an ex-dancer I figured I could gain back that muscle memory rather quickly. Then our YTT began, currently, we are halfway through our class journey. By day three, the air felt different. By day four, I think I felt invisible energy glowing around me. By day five, exhaustion was confused with elation.
Oh my goodness! It was happening! And I’m not talking about increased flexibility, although I did feel a bit of that too. I may just give my entire life savings to Tirisula! Ok, ok, I’m not going to drink spiked Kool-Aid, but I felt something I never felt before. Oneness. I could feel my fatigue. Something I would normally deny to myself while I forced myself into some set of actions which would domino into more actions I would not truly want to do. Synchronicity. My mind was mellow. My thoughts were now mere watercolors, stains. I found that moment of a sadhana (spiritual practice) speaking to me, moving me, nominating ME for ME.
When I was tired, I laid down. I could breathe. Finally, I could feel the effects of the pranayama breathing. My thoughts began to bend into less cluttered thinking. My mind was no longer on Fitbit mode, “better drink water, you’re only at 3 glasses”. Literally, the water within me was flowing with a current outside of me and leading me to intuitive actions that had escaped me because I had been using the FORCE of my thoughts to dominate even simple physical body functions. (Raise your hand real high if you need to earn a pee break!) This waste of energy was similar to using an entire electrical city grid just to make your morning alarm go off. My mind was no longer using constant FORCE to lug one leg in front of the other. Suddenly, I felt what power means. Power, like gravity pulls things down. Power, that water will flow down a river. Power, that mountains cast shadows which move throughout the day. Power, of an apple seed which will grow and fight through soil to rise.
I was most moved by philosophies we learned our second week. “Do things that are progressive for you”. What a novel idea. Do not express intent, express the positive thoughts without the intent. I feel strong. When I do yoga, I feel my breath and that feels good. Versus my FORCEful self-talk; I WILL feel great when I clean my office today. Every breath creates a pattern. This pattern connects to your brains thoughts. Be interested in what you can do, no need to pinpoint why.
My thoughts thought they thought of everything. Obviously not.