My Yoga teacher Eric told us a great little nugget of wisdom yesterday that really changed my perspective on things.
Eric told us that we all have seeds in us---these tiny, little, invisible seeds. Under the right circumstances...they will grow into weeds. Example: traffic. How many times have you been stuck in traffic, or the bozo next to you cut you off--creating frustration, anger, possibly even a fit of road rage in you? That traffic incident did not create this frustration/anger/road rage, but rather--it was the nutrients that made your seed grow into a weed. That frustration/anger/road rage has been with you all the time--just waiting for the right moment and environment to sprout. Now, what you are actually encountering is this weed in your mind, not the circumstance itself.
So, you have a choice. What do you do with this weed?
You can feed it with more thoughts, causing the weed to grow and spread rapid in your mind. Or, you can ignore it---refuse to feed it with the sunshine of your thoughts, the fertilizer of your energy, the water of your mind. Instead--you starve the weed. Sure, you note that it's there---you observe how a certain circumstance has shown you this seed that exists within you. But you do not need to feed the weed that it has turned into.
Easy concept, huh?
The wonderful thing about Eric--is he serves us these nuggets of wisdom then creates a Yoga practice that challenges us to practice what we just learned. For me, this practice was invigorating...I literally felt like weeds in my self were being burned right there on my charcoal gray mat. Eric put us in poses that seem comfortable and nothing out-of-the-ordinary, but had us there for quite an extended period of time. Enough time to start watering seeds that exist within us--when our muscles start to ache, when we are unable to hold a pose as gracefully as the Yogi next to us--or even as beautiful as the image in our mind, when we start to get uncomfortable, bored, frustrated thinking why did I come to this class!
But as I stood there in three legged plank, or in a long, breath of warrior pose, he told us to ignore those weeds that were beginning to sprout in our minds. Ignore that the mind is telling us to cheat a bit---to pretend a cramp and take a time out---drop to your knees and act like you were suffering from the greatest of thirst. He explained to us to listen carefully and work to decipher the difference between our bodies speaking to us because we have gone too far from our minds telling us to flee because it is uncomfortable and unhappy with the current situation. Most of the time---our bodies can handle the circumstances, it is the mind that acts like a real diva.
Sure, I will be honest and state that I was so happy that I could last through these poses (even my pride is a weed, you see). But that was only second to the pure joy I found in this challenge--in the ability I gained to control my mind--to actually ignore the weeds and experiment with staying relax and finding my bliss in circumstances that were not the most agreeing with the agenda of my mind.
Now, the real challenge is to apply this to my Yoga off the mat. Can I ignore the weeds that begin to sprout when I am at work and a middle schooler is bluntly disrespectful? Can I ignore the weeds when I have to sit through another two hour meeting that has nothing to do with my position? Can I ignore the weeds when my neighbors don't live up to my expectations of consideration?
I found through my practice on the mat, that when I start to ignore those weeds--something happens. They begin to dry out so drastically that they burn. I felt cleansing happening in this practice, by simply being completely in the moment. By being so present to what is real---the sensations in my body, the way the sweat poured down my brow, the feel of my fingers on the mat, the air from the fan above, my breath. These sensations connect us to our life---those weeds sprouting and spreading in the garden of our minds--are just that--weeds to the beautiful landscape of our life.
Peace & Love.