It Ain’t Me Babe

i had a real *oh shit* moment this week.

a student doing her yoga teacher training called me.  she’s doing a project on the 8 limbs of yoga and asked if i could talk to her about the 8th and  final limb.  samadhi.  like on camera.  as if i even know what that is.  or experienced it.

i wanted to answer in the words of the great bob dylan:

no, no, no.  it ain’t me babe.  it ain’t me you’re looking for, babe.

but i didn’t.  instead i said sure.  then thought, *oh shit*

because i’m still working pretty hard on the first three or four limbs – you know, trying to be a good person, get on my mat, breathe.  samadhi?

still trying to control the monkey

well, that’s a ghandi.  or a jesus.  definitely not a peg.  at least, not yet.

samadhi is a pure state of consciousness.  it’s like being totally clean of all our misconceptions and distortions.  where we see things as they are instead of how WE are.

yeah.  i’m still trying for more immediate things like being kind and content …  struggling for my bind in pasasana and my heels in kapotasana, most mornings by 5 am … and breathing, of course.  that’s always important.

like i said, i’m way behind.  or am i …?

the eight limbs are about cleaning ourselves up.  in fact, many would say samadhi is actually our natural state or true essence.  that it’s nothing we must go out and look for – but something we need to reclaim.  it’s buried under greasy layers of doubt, fear, greed, disease … you name it.  if we can clear all that shit away – voila!  there we are!

patanjali gets that this is going to take some work.  in fact – what it takes is discipline.  pure and simple – and really really hard.  that’s why he starts us off with the basics.  things like social and individual discipline, or being a moral and descent person.  and then we move on to asana, or the physical exercises.

and i hear it again and again … “jumping around, twisting yourself up -that’s not yoga.  that’s gymnastics.”  but i tell you what – check in with any gymnast and i bet one thing you’ll find that they have besides a bendy, strong body  … discipline.  why do i get up at (now) 4 am?  practice this crazy asana for almost 2 hours?  change my eating and sleeping habits?  discipline, baby.  ain’t no way two ways around it.

reading kino macgregor’s blog of her new year’s conference with sharath in mysore, she loosely quotes her teacher:

Patanjali says yogas chitta vritti nirodah: yoga means to bring your senses in control. Thought waves are often so strong that you cannot still the mind, once you still the mind that is yoga, meditation and union. For that you need to develop certain discipline is needed within us. For discipline you need to practice asanas so the faculty of mind control will be slowly developed by you.   

in the ashtanga method, we train our breath, our bodies, and our focus.   pull in our senses (pratyahara) and concentrate (dharana) while we are “jumping around, twisting ourselves up.”    it takes practice.  and if i’m any example – a lot of it!  hence the rigorous 6 mornings a week.  dedication.  discipline.

yet this IS the gateway in.  the way we peel back the layers and return home.

so, i’m sorry erica. though, i’ve been traveling this road for quite some time – i’m still not there.  but good news!  i’m pretty sure i’m on the right path and headed in the right direction.  so i’ll let you know when i get there.  then maybe we should talk.  🙂