In our American rugged individualism, our egos are quick to want to believe ‘I did it all’ or ‘I built this all by myself’. In these quick assessments we can forget how others want to be connected to our stories of success or failure. Particularly from our soul’s viewpoint, it’s all process, growth and reflection. In those seemingly daily ‘coincidences’ we can overlook our outward and often ‘busy’ focus to recognize our soul at work. Our souls are our inward eye and/or voice of how to master our innate unity---perfection from moment to moment. There’s no ‘divide and conquer’ or ‘dog eat dog’ beliefs from the soul, it’s a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’---ego being the boat.
Saturday, August 21 in the morning (transitioning from Intentions to Resources), I was walking to yoga class when I realized I didn’t have a mask to wear. It is the kula’s policy to wear a mask when you’re not on your yoga mat. Usually, I would have listened to my ego and turned around to get one. I calculated I would still have enough time to get to class on time. Then, I began to berate myself for not taking one in the first place (Ignorance/Mentors/Values & Ideals colliding within me). Had I driven I would have masks in a sealed container in my car. These thoughts came in less than several squares on my street’s sidewalk. Then, I felt that the owner would have a mask (or a classmate). I kept walking with this intention. Both statements were true. Another yogi offered to get one from her car. The teacher brought over a box of masks from which to choose. Sigh. Class began. Lowered blood pressure from seeing how I was taken care of, but also realizing how much I had been taught to be prepared at all times from my Mentors and society as a whole. It is the old’ you must be twice as prepared to get half as much mentality.
After nearly 20 years of practicing yoga and setting intentions (before Our Raw Material was birthed) this same Saturday it was the first time I dedicated (set intention) for and from soul. Consciously I laid on my back stretching and contemplating this Vinyasa (Flow) Yin (holding the poses for longer time where you breathe more) class, I filled myself up with the energies from Soul. I intended to feel my ego (which undoubtedly wants to get every pose just right) and my soul merge (it’s a practice and process, much like ORM). One of my favorite yoga teachers often said ‘it’s a yoga practice, not yoga perfect’. Our egos (often through early childhood conditioning from parents and teachers) get imprinted with these messages that anything you try you must be the best. Our souls know better. Our souls say reflect, get back up when you fall and laugh as you get your ass off the ground.
During the class this teacher is clear to give modifications (step by step movements to get to the full pose). She also encourages laughter. To my ego, it is nothing more disheartening than a yogi that is so serious that they don’t laugh. I believe the poses get increasingly difficult to the eye of the ego for us to fall---and laugh. Hell, I’ve not returned to some classes because the teachers were to too serious. That was before ORM. Now, I would find within my soul something funny (or maybe not go to my edge---which is determined usually by your breath.) ORM has taught me to allow for other’s Wholeness and Ignorance---including yoga teachers.
This lovely Saturday morning our teacher told this story about a King, Prince and Sage. The king wanted his son to become more virtuous. So he hired a Sage to instruct him. What I remember of this story is the graciousness and pacing in which it was told. How the prince and Sage ended up writing some ancient yogi texts. Remember too, my beginning intention (which many teachers will remind you at near the middle of your class practice) was to feel the merger of my ego and soul. She ceased telling the story. I asked her to continue. She promised that she would.
Before she did, she began to teach us a breathing exercise that was new to me (Read: Ignorance). It was where you hold your hands at your belly, breath for a three count, pause and hold your breath. Breathe for another three counts into your rib cage, pause. Then finally breathe a three count to your upper lungs. Then breathe out of your mouth. Wow, my entire body was shaking after several rounds of this breathing. It was as if I had returned home.
Realizing my ego shifted to where’s the rest of the story? Much like a soap opera cliffhanger or a trailer to a new movie, the teacher began to speak about ‘Jivamukti’ a Sanskrit word that translates into ‘soul freedom’. My mind/ego was blown. Can’t. Make. This. Stuff. Up. My heart began to fill up. 20 years, well, even the nearly three years of ORM, you’re gonna tell me that the first time I dedicate my moving and breathing practice of alignment Jivamukti is mentioned?! I also had water near my yoga mat that was covered by my mask. Know that I’ve gone to yoga since ORM discovered me. I was over the moon and under the sky! Talk about a feeling of ‘Soul Freedom’! Words limit the experience...
It is a body memory that I will remember for the rest of my life. Our souls provide Resources at all times---certainly as we recognize the interconnectedness of all our roots.
Did I mention that in my zeal to get to class on time that I forgot my towel? That resource was provided too. Jivamukti, baby, Jivamukti! As she finished the story, she mentioned another Sanskrit word 'vipassana’. It was the moral of the story---it means literally ‘special, super, seeing’ or ‘insight’. It is a training of the mind. How do we train our egos to integrate the soul’s insight in our daily lives and physical bodies? Yoga is one practice. ORM is another. What’s yours? Tread the untrodden path, listen to your own inner authority based upon experience and reflect, contemplate and reflect and contemplate some more. Or as this yogi said on Saturday---’breath and move’ and ‘breathe and move’ some more. (She also has us do our own yogi dance about two thirds through each class). She is an incredible resource of joy, peace, laughter and love---and her kula is within walking distance from my house---I don't look any further for these resources. Jivamukti & Vipassana!