23 February 2012

Be the vision

"Its not what the goal is, it's what the goal does for you."

My son Nik came out with this in one of our deeper conversations a couple of days ago.

He was chiding me for not proactively addressing my failing memory.
I forget things all the time. In a moment, I've completely forgotten what I did or said a moment ago.
It's frustrating.
My mind is a sieve, nothing sticks, information falls instantly through my brain holes and out again.
I have optimised the Buddhist art of letting go, and now there is nothing but a cool breeze blowing through my hollow head.

But his message and method was clear:

Visualise your goal, whatever it is (he was referring specifically to his vision of me being powerful, direct, opinionated, dynamic, fully present and NOT dreamy, forgetful and vague).

Visualise who you want to be, not the journey, but the ultimate end point.

Look to the stars. Aim high. Anything less isn't good enough.

See yourself there.

That could be you. That WILL be you. THAT IS YOU, NOW!

Embody that vision.

Then notice how that makes you feel...INSPIRED.

What does that inspiration do for you?

It fuels the fire that takes you there.

So forget about the ABC's of getting there. In your mind, BE THERE NOW and everything else will fall into alignment to take you there.

A free ride to the stars upon the winds of inspiration.

22 February 2012

Moment by moment

It's a warm morning but still dark outside.

Driving through the city streets to Kosta's early morning led yoga class, my gut wants me to turn around, drive home and snuggle back under the covers.

Light shades of anxiety wash through me, I feel the tightening of my solar plexus.
Where is this coming from?

I try to dig down through the layers of negative thoughts, to locate the underlying fear.
This is good, I'm still driving in the right direction.
I haven't given in.

It's no big deal really. I get to the led class, and all fear disappears.

We chant the Gayatri Mantra, my Oms are superficial and end too soon.
We do surya namsaskars, I step instead of jump.
I do Vashistasana A twice, instead of trying Vashistasana B.
I modify Parivritta Parsvakonasana.
Bakasana is not too bad, but no way can I engage my core to move into a 3 point headstand today.

Kosta sneaked in Mayurasana (left), a surprise pose today.
I balance shakily for a few moments.

(It looks like on of my teachers, David Roche, in the image)

The other balancing poses bring me joy today: Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, Ardha Chandrasana...expressions of poise, simplicity, purity and elegance.

And then we do Handstands, not to the wall but free balancing at the end of our mats.
I kick up and for a few moments I am so perfectly balanced that time stops still - I have slipped inside of two moments and in there...is eternity.

And then we do Urdhva Dhanurasana, three times, and Viparitta Dandasana (left). With each back arch every part of my being opens up to the world, exposed and unafraid.

Rip open my heart and I'll tear open yours.

Back arches light the fire.

After class I change clothes, walk out of the magical studio into the morning sun, and head straight off, transformed again, into another work day.


Work IS spiritual practice
From one point of view, work is part of our spiritual practice because everything we do in life is IT - our practice.
Every moment is the only moment we have.
Every moment is a moment to use.
Every moment of unconscious behaviour is a moment wasted.

Full time work is an opportunity to test my kindness, equanimity and love, and opportunities arise every day at work that show up impurities in my thoughts and motivations.
Plenty to work on at work.

Work IMPINGES on spiritual practice
From another point of view, the daily grind of full time work impinges on spiritual practice.
It pulls us into that tiny little work arena - the mind is caught up in tasks, responsibilities, deadlines, management and staff politics, government compliance, obligations, carefully worded speech, carefully planned email and paper trails.... If I wasn't working, my mind could expand out into the universe. I'd have more time, be able to do more yoga and meditation, and spend time communing with nature. I could live a natural, more pure life away from the city, the pollution, the frenzy, the stress. I'd have time to focus fully on deepening my spiritual practice, to reflect and work on my mind with my heart.

Which point of view do you have about work?
If you're like me, you probably swing from one to the other, depending on your stress levels.

I HAVE to work.
I am still financially supporting my son, paying his rent and his bills, buying his weekly food.
I have one small income and two households to keep afloat.

So I go to work at a very busy job - and it occupies a big chunk of my mental space, at times overriding all other priorities.
Outside of work hours I set aside blocks of time to spend with and care for the people in my intimate life, my family and close friends.
Which seems to leave hardly any time for serious spiritual practice. So I do what I can to care for my soul: yoga, meditation, hiking in the bush, retreating on my own once a month, reading Ryokan, and occasionally writing or posting something on this blog.

At this rate, enlightenment is a long way off, but I take full responsibility: my life right now is the culmination of all the choices I have made. And I am grateful for what I have.

Because I know that in a moment, everything can change...