Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand, India
"You don't need to try so hard."
Years ago in Seattle, I went with my friend Anita to see someone whom she described as a "seer" of sorts. Hearing him say, "You don't need to try so hard," I exhaled with relief and felt infinitely lighter. Since then I've come to believe that many, myself included, who exert large amounts of effort, are overcompensating and avoiding a fear that perhaps we are not good or not capable.
"How you do one thing is how you do everything."
A once-teacher of mine was fond of saying this. True or not, it's an interesting consideration.
"What's true on the mat is true off the mat."
Ashtangis often say this, and in my experience it is true.
"But as long as you think, 'I am doing this,' or 'I have to do this,' or 'I must attain something special,' you are actually not doing anything.... When there is no gaining idea in what you do, then you do something." - Shinryu Suzuki
hotel stairwell, Aurangabad, India
Nothing special that's how I feel—not in a bad way, but in an everyday Zen way. So I am finishing this post after letting it sit for several weeks, and indeed, the post and I are—nothing... special. No gaining idea/not trying (so hard) resonates and tastes of freedom to me.
Guru Sharath says it in a yogic way. (Substitute "practice" for any activity or "life"):
You should not be practicing to have a "good" practice.... We should do practice happily regardless of whether it is good or not.Sharathji and (many) scriptures have also said the divine can take any form:
In Indian philosophy they say Nirakara—this means that the Divine, the Supreme.... can come in any shape. It can come as human, it can come as a dog, it can come as an elephant, it can come as a tiger. So there is no... specific form... It is just an energy which we have to experience.He is saying essentially that everything is an expression of the divine and—not to get off topic but—that would include #45 and other Rakshasas, ALL beings, and all we experience. To me, this is also liberating (even as I resist politically—with awareness, or so I hope.)
hotel hallway, Aurangabad, India. (actual color from EXIT sign)
Saying everything is a divine manifestation may sound like parroting the cliche, "It's all good." However, at the same time, no, it's not all good! Will leave it there. Gotta love what defies "logical' thinking.
Well, the mat, cushion, and life are (mostly!) always there for us. Just watched a David Garrigues video in which he describes what he calls the "arc of Ashtanga." Basically, as we change, our practice changes; and just so in life, as we change, so does life/our life.
And lately, while experiencing freedom in so many ways, I have also felt stuck and longing for change. The shoulder improves or worsens and the mind obsesses or lets go, often focusing on relationships of all kinds, past and present. All the ghosts of unknown, unspoken, withheld, refused words and interactions appear before me—without resolution. Stripped to the core, this feels like one of the last layers of the the onion-ego (duality.)
And how healing it is to come to my mat, to art, to life, to this writing—to come home to Truth.
Love and blessing to all! (And a big smile to my political, personal, and inner Rakshasas.)
“Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.”― Nisargadatta Maharaj
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina morning