The Path To Bodhichitta

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

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, May 30, 2008

Reruns (from Manual of the Warrior of Light)

A warrior of light knows that certain moments repeat themselves.

He often finds himself faced by the same problems and situations, and seeing these difficult situations return, he grows depressed thinking that he is incapable of making any progress in life.

"I've been through all these before," he says to his heart.

"Yes, you've been through all these before," replies his heart. "But you've never been beyond it."

Then the warrior of light realises that these repeated experiences have but one aim: to teach him what he does not want to learn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Like Coming Home

I was designing a Yoga For Stress Management program for a client (my 'real' job is that of a corporate trainer) and needed to test-drive certain snippets of it. So I offered three free half-hour yoga classes to another client who had engaged me for a 4-day leadership program.

On the first evening, eight people filed into the room and laid their towels on the carpeted floor. PS, one of the two men, confessed that he had never done anything close to yoga before, but was willing to give it a shot because nothng he had previously tried could help him relax.

I started feeling a little nervous. I hadn't stood in front of a class in more than 6months, and suddenly my carefully put together sequence seemed amateurish. But it was too late for second thoughts now. Swallowing my anxiety, I threw myself into the class and time stretched from 30 minutes to almost an hour. When they were finally in Savasana, I felt an uncontrollable joy well up within me. The words had flowed smoothly out of my mouth as though I had never taken a sabbatical. My eyes and hands remembered the adjustments and I was able to draw inspiration from my students.

It was like coming home again.

PS stayed behind after the rest had filed out and as I approached him, my nervousness returned. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "I'm really pissed off with this whole thing."

My heart sank.

"When we lay down at the end and you started talking, for the first time in my life, I felt my entire body relax. Every bit of tension seemed to dissolve. I was in a space I had never been in before and it was great. Then I got really pissed off because I knew that the minute you stopped talking and walked out that door, I wouldn't be able to recreate this amazing feeling."

I stared at him dumbly. Nothing could have prepared me for what he had just told me.

"How do I get what you have?" he asked desperately. "You're so full of peace and light. I would give my life to just experience five minutes of your soul."

His eyes welled up and all I could do was still stare. When I finally shook myself out of my stupor, we talked for almost an hour. The only advice I could offer was that he needed to listen to his inner voice. He agreed but said he didn't know how. Try yoga, I suggested. Stay in the silence of your body and listen. It will speak to you.

As I drove home, I felt immensely humbled at having witnessed the quiet power of yoga once again. Just before the class I had felt my old insecurities and yoga had spoken through PS to tell me that I am reaping its benefits. And yoga had spoken through me to reach out and touch PS in a way that even he couldn't yet understand.

It was like coming home again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

From The Manual of the Warrior of Light

Every warrior of light has felt afraid of going into battle.

Every warrior of light has, at some time in the past, lied or betrayed someone.

Every warrior of light has trodden a path that was not his.

Every warrior of light has suffered for the most trivial of reasons.

Every warrior of light has, at least once, believed that he was not a warrior of light.

Every warrior of light has failed in his spiritual duties.

Every warrior of light has said 'yes' when he wanted to say 'no'.

Every warrior of light has hurt someone he loved.

That is why he is a warrior of light, because he has been through all this and yet has never lost hope of being better than he is.

Snippets Of Light

Ever since devouring Like The Flowing River, I have fallen in love with Paulo Coelho's work. But only his nonfiction pieces. And so the next two books that kept me house bound for a whole weekend were The Pilgrimage and The Valkyries. The only book left was Manual of the Warrior of Light.

According to Wikipedia;

"The Manual of the Warrior of Light is a 1997 collection of Paulo Coelho's teachings summed up into one volume. It includes proverbs, extracts from the Tao Te Ching, the Bible, the book of Chuang Tzu, the Talmud and various other sources, and is written in the form of short philosophical passages.

This book is written as if it were an actual handbook for a supposedly Templar or Paladin warrior, the warrior however being a metaphor not for those who serve a certain lord, an ideal or the weak, but for those in pursuit of their dreams and who appreciate the miracle of life. The manual describes the challenges the warrior faces and solutions to the problems, including paradoxes (such as the section "sometimes the Warrior behaves like a rock" is followed directly by "sometimes the Warrior behaves like Water". Rock (stability) and Water (flexibility) are given as opposite metaphors in Taoism).

The book's content was first published in various Brazilian newspapers between 1993 and 1996. It was compiled in 1997, given a prologue and epilogue, and then published under its current title.

As stated in the book's summary, the Manual is for those who strive to meet their destiny and who want to ascend to a higher level of being."

I have been dying to read this book, but for some reason could never quite locate in any bookstore. Then last week, I was in Thiland's international airport and there it was. The one and only copy, snuggled in a corner. It was one of the rare moments when I didn't doze off during the flight home.

I finished half the book before the plane touched down. I would have read more if I didn't have to keep putting the book down to give my overwhelmed emotions some reprieve. Every now and then a little passage would speak directly to me - reassuring, guiding and chiding. Still fresh from my emotional turmoil last year, the words touched me a little deeper than it normally would.

This is one book that will travel with me for a long, long time.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Crossing Over

So finally...I've hit magnificent 30. And i had the highlights of my twenties welcome me over to their side last night. I have crossed over and it's a glorious place to be.

A still-twentysomething-friend, who will be crossing over later this year, marvelled at how much I was looking forward to entering the next decade. She said, "when it's my turn I'm going hide under the blankets and eat a huge stack of pancakes."

I had a vision of the person I would be when I hit 30 and it's nothing like who I am now. But I like this unplanned version.

And that my fellow yogis, is what alignment is about. ;)