and how home is where the heart of stillness is......
21.12.2009 24 °C
This weeks been different. On Saturday I went to my Pranayama class with BNS Iyengar ("Yes Yes, come in come in, to where are you wandering, sit down sit down!!!") and that was amazing. This week we've been working on nadi sodhana variations and the exercise took about an hour. It was a simple exercise- 3 rounds of alternate nostril breathing with a 1-2 ratio, repeated 15 times. As can happen I was quite detached afterwards and lay down to rest for a while. Something happened. As I lay there it was as if I went somewhere else entirely. And there was this unearthly being- not unlike the creature in the Star card of Aleister Crowley's Thoth tarot deck communicating with me without words. This being that felt like a force of good but at the same time was completely dispassionate, like some kind of spiritual administrator. It became clear that there was something in me, something in the past that had been getting to me, making me angry and upset and the event was like some kind of micro chip or seed - something that had been planted in me to learn from. And this being, this creature, removed it for me. It was as if it dissipated it. And it told me that I had a choice. That if I chose to pursue the dark thoughts it would be entirely my decision from that moment onwards but there was no real, valid or even 'karmic' need for those thoughts anymore. And whats been so interesting is that I still have certain thoughts that I would prefer not to have, as changing patterns takes time, but it doesn't feel like a part of me anymore. I sort of watch them go by. Its like the thoughts are an empty box.
So after this I spent a long time floating in the swimming pool, looking up at the sky, at the circling eagles, at the trees moving with the breeze and felt stillness. Then that evening I went into Mysore with Su and we went out and sat on a rooftop, had a glass of wine and fish kebabs (nice) and talked for a while, had a great night. And in the rickshaw on the way home I felt like I was exactly where I need to be. And the thought of leaving was just abhorrent. And I realized that I don't have to go anywhere, that my plans can change. So I changed them to stay for another month. Its so weird. I haven't left Mysore since I've been here and I'm generally someone that moves from place to place a lot. I don't like not escaping at least once a fortnight to go somewhere new, even if its only the next town. And i was so looking forward to going to the ashram. They were great though, they told me not to worry, they have someone on the waiting list and I can do the next course if I want. I just feel that I'm changing, my practice is changing, and even though my existence is quiet its exactly what I need right now. And maybe if I'm starting to understand about stillness after quite a few years of trying I'll get more out of going to the ashram at a later date and next time it won't feel so much like an ordeal, but like somewhere I am really growing rather than the Betty Ford clinic (my last trip to India was a bit of a journey to 'dry out' it has to be said!)...
The asana practice is flowing too. I did the second series today which felt good. Ajay has an extreme Supta Virasana adjustment- he stands on you- skilfully though. Backbending is really coming on also- it feels like my spine is beginning to be 'unstuck'- though I had a really great massage on Thursday which helped. Handstand I can maybe mange for two more seconds than last week...I also ran my first Mysore style class on Friday which went ok I think. Practicing with Nagaraj has helped quite a bit. I had about six people so it was manageable. And theres a guy who doesn't speak much English- and my Telegu is limited- who just loved being adjusted and kept requiring adjustment by going "Push me down..."! And thats another challenge with adjustments, if you are not very tall, adjusting big men who are perhaps not that flexible- you have to get creative and use the wall to balance and that kind of thing...
Another really great thing that happened was that my friend Simone who I met last year in Mysore turned up! She was on her way to Vipassana with her partner but I got to spend a couple of evenings with her which was great. And hopefully she's coming back here to do some practice in January too.
As for today I've been quiet, I had a dizzy attack this morning (due to all the practice and impending Ladies Holiday) so I've been lying in bed all day reading 'Bitten by the Black Snake' again. Its so beautiful. So here is the fourth sutra...
All things arise, suffer, change and pass away.
This is their nature.
When you know this nothing perturbs you, nothing hurts you, you become still.
It is easy.
Sooner or later fortune or misfortune may befall you.
When you know this, you desire nothing, you grieve for nothing.
Subduing the senses you are happy; whatever you do brings joy or sorrow, life or death.
When you know this, you may act freely, without attachment.
What is there to accomplish?
All sorrow comes from fear, from nothing else.
When you know this, you become free of it, and desire melts away.
You become happy and still, the world with all its wonders is nothing.
When you know this desire melts away, for you are awareness itself.
When you know in your heart that there is nothing, you are still.'
Something to meditate on...