Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Practice, Sincerity, and The Mind

I heard a great quote once that unfortunately I completely forgot who said it; it went something like “the mind is a wonderful servant, but it is a horrible master.” Who ever said that hit the nail right on the fucking head.

What a sticky, tricky thing this mind is, most of us don’t know how to use it, and so suffering is on its way my friends.

This is the reason we practice yoga, the goal is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, or so I have heard in my Yoga Sutra class but don’t claim to actually know what that’s means at all. Guruji famously said practice, practice, practice, and shanti (peace) is coming.

The practice might consist of a billion lifetimes of work but hey peace is coming right so that’s good. This is why we show up to our mats every day or do our sadhana or whatever it is that you do. So that in the next second or perhaps a billion years from now we may achieve SAT CHIT ANANDA or Samadhi or CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS for my catholic brother and sisters or really just my grandma, my Jesus loving psychotic grandmother.

So back to the peace that is coming if we go inwards and do our work. I don’t know why I have faith in that notion but thank God I do, that’s the grace I've been shown so far. Someone is looking out for me up there and I am in gratitude. It almost feels like you take one step toward your practice, God, Shiva whatever you want to call it and it takes three steps towards you. You don’t have to do a single thing just show up every single day and it’ll evolve, even if the work for you is as simple as lighting a candle or smiling at a stranger every day, it doesn't have be a two hour long asana or japa practice.

I feel in gratitude that although asleep in a dream most of the time, being strung along by the senses and my mind, constantly getting caught up in comparing and contrasting myself to others while trying to strike the perfect pose, and worrying about what cute girls think of me. Even with all the anxiety ridden thoughts, insecurities, lower nature tendencies, this never ending loop of pleasure and pain, at least I see this for what it really is, a mind trip and the most important part that I am NOT the mind.

You see this when you start to play with the mind and go inward, it’s really interesting.

An asana practice or sitting meditation practice will really reveal to you on an intimate level just how bat shit insane your mind is. Then you’ll be terrified because you’’ll realize you've been living in this your whole life. Metaphorically speaking, it’s like you have just accepted a ride from an insane cab driver and its prime time traffic in Miami, you’re in Hialeah on Le Jeune and Jose has a bumper sticking saying he is “El Caballo De A Tila” this will not end good and so naturally we do our practice so our minds can be transcended and so we can experience peace and have joy and love in our hearts instead of always getting caught up in the mind trip or in the cab ride with Jose and the extremes that come with it.

This is what I am after, peace and love. I believe it’ll come from my Sadhana one day. I’m trying my best to be a sincere practitioner, I don’t even know if I have a sincere heart yet or a courageous one at that to be honest. Sometimes I’m scared I won’t be able to be strong enough to complete the work or what if I quit and don’t follow the path and stay true to myself, but I've been surprising myself a lot lately and realize I am really strong inside and I think I am going to be okay. I just want to be a good, honest, simple, loving, and joyful man and my practice helps me to do that and so I do it, every day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Ashtanga Yoga Method

The Ashtanga Yoga Method: My life preserver.

I have had such an intense spiritual yearning in my heart for as long as I can remember and thanks to some good karma and luck that thirst has always been quenched because of the beautiful people around me. I owe everything to Omphale and Soham they gave me the gift of unconditional love and the ability to at least sometimes open my eyes and go inward in a world that is sleeping and going outwards.

Although I was learning and experiencing many things spiritually I never felt ready to start my sadhana. I didn’t feel rooted in a practice until I discovered the method that is Ashtanga Yoga.

Ashtanga yoga where do I begin, how do I even describe what the practice is doing to my soul. From the moments I heard OM VANDE GURUNAM in the opening invocation I knew I had found my practice. Ashtanga yoga asks you to throw yourself into the practice sincerely and I am doing my best to do just that. I feel lighter, happier, at home, and grounded when doing my very humble practice. I also encounter much struggle and it can be intense at times. No matter what happens though I know I have my practice, somehow in a way I can’t comprehend all the answers are present in the practice, I just have to show up for  many lifetimes maybe billions ha.

When the mind is really acting up in my practice I just think of Guruji. What can I say about this great man, every once in a while you encounter a being that just opens you up effortlessly and you can’t do anything about it, you’re just along for the ride. 

Here is my teacher Kino speaking on Sri K Pattabhi Jois or Guruji

YogaSutra:1.1 atha yoga anushasanam
Translated into now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of Yoga begins.

I now become the student. I pray for grace, courage, and strength to have the ability to use this life to do the work and get to know myself and the beauty of all this.