Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Digging deeper

When things get tough, it sometimes seems like the easiest thing to do is give up and move on to something else. I’ve found myself doing this in my yoga practice (as well as in other areas of my life). When in a difficult pose (or situation), I will quickly move out of it and on to the next one.

That’s why this passage from Freeman’s book, The Mirror of Yoga, really resonated with me:

There is a wonderful story about a man digging a well. He would begin digging down and after five or six feet of digging, which is very hard work, he would find no water, and so he would climb out of the little hole he had made, move twenty feet over, and dig another hole for his well. But after digging about six feet down, he would give up again, move twenty feet in another direction and start digging again. This went on, and on, and on, and he never found water.
So it is with the restless ego pursuing yoga, seeking ornaments for an improved self-image and new ways of feeling better, but avoiding the true facts of life. When the school or practice becomes difficult – which is precisely the entry point into reality – it is at this crisis point that you really have to drop your pretenses and keep digging deeper into the experience. However, all too often it is right at this juncture that we tend to give up the practice. We move on to a “better” teaching or a “more interesting” school, rather than sticking with it and investigating the inner work that is the purpose of the school and the teachings in the first place.

The daily practice of yoga forces us to work on our struggles every single day. It reminds us that change is slow and incremental, but it eventually happens. Things we thought were impossible become possible. Patterns in our bodies and minds can be broken and rebuilt.

So today in practice (thanks to Karen) I tried staying in my dreaded poses just a little bit longer. I don’t want to be constantly moving to easy and shallow holes, never finding water... I want to be digging deep wells.

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