The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

False Alarm

My phone rang at 5pm. It was Parveen with a request that made my heart sink. He wanted to switch teaching classes that evening. My mind exploded in fearful protest.

"But your class is too advanced for my simple sequence," I bleated. "What if your students don't ever come back? "

He laughed. There was a special ceremony at the temple that night, he explained, and he needed to be there, but no problem if I felt uncomfortable about switching. His tone held no annoyance or disappointment. My mental chattering screeched to a halt. How could I let my selfish inferiority get in the way of his bhakti yoga? So I conceded.

All thoughout the short drive to Yoga 2 Health, I agonized over how I'd manage this class. The sequence I had carefully prepared and researched suddenly seemed like a wade in the baby pool. What difficult asanas should I throw in to keep the class interested? What great yogic philosophy should I impart? How would I handle a class of more than 10 students? What if I wasn't good enough? My mind collapsed in a silent puddle of despair and frustration. And then something interesting happened. A voice deep within spoke. It was as though it was patiently waiting for the theatrics to end before making itself known. And it said, "You don't have to be everything you think you should be."

Suddenly, I understood. I didn't have to be Parveen's double, just his substitute. I didn't have to be better than the students, just the best I could be. I didn't have to throw out my sequence or throw in an array of impressive asanas. Better to teach them how to do simple asanas with an advanced approach, than mess up a advanced sequence. I didn't have to prove anything to anyone or even myself. I didn't have to be this or that. I just had to be. With this awareness in mind, I walked into the studio and gave one of my best classes to date.

I felt like I had finally found my place in the front of the class. My voice was stronger, my instructions were clearer and my mind more relaxed. I felt the quiet strength that comes with surrendering. Instead of being too big as I had feared, the class felt intimate. Instead of struggling to remember everything as I usually do, I spoke from my body's memory of each asana. If I remembered something too late, I just saved it for the next time and moved on. I interacted more than instructed. I spoke less and paid more attention. In other words, I allowed myself to be myself and have a great time!

I have a long, long way more to go but this has been a good start.

4 Comments:

Blogger bibliobibuli said...

i'm happy for you ...

love your quote at the top of the page btw about your practice coming to meet you halfway ...

7:21 AM  
Blogger Rafleesia said...

Wow! How inspiring! Congratulations on finding (and listening to) the wisdom within.

6:26 PM  
Blogger YogaMama said...

best wishes on your journey, and many blessings. there are 5 tools of a soul warrior - prayer, japa, mantra, meditation and satsang.

I think this will be an excellent satsang site. thanks for creating it.

with love and light...

8:25 PM  
Blogger starlight said...

I'm so surprised to see you here, Bibliobibuli! But what a wonderful surprise!! Thank you for dropping by.

Rafleesia, thanks so much. And I must congratulate you too for listening to your own inner voice.

Yogamama - thank you so much. You're one of the people I will always look to for guidance.

9:11 PM  

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