The Path To Bodhichitta

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

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Riding The Plateau

Growth in all aspects of my life has suddenly come to a grinding halt. And I am standing on this motionless terrain wondering what it will take to get the winds blowing again.

This year began with my lucky star locked perfectly over my head, showering its golden rain over me. In the boardroom, I climbed mountains that once loomed menacingly but now resemble nothing more than molehills. On the mat, my newly discovered Ashtanga practice took me to places I never knew I had within me. Not to mentioned the muscles and lean structure that seemed to develop overnight! I daresay I felt invincible.

Then, without rhyme or reason, things started slowing fact, at times it even feels like the gears are in reverse. At work, no glass ceilings have shattered recently and it feels like I'm squinting to make my way through a fog. But it's my practice that keeps me wriggling in anxiety.

The Uttanasana B-Chaturanga-Urdhva Mukah Svanasana sequence is becoming increasingly difficult. Where I once used to land with bent elbows, nowadays I jump back and then lower myself. Then, when I get into the asana, my shoulders shoot up to my neck and everything feels clumsy. And pushing upwards is such a struggle, I sometimes collapse in frustration.

I just don't understand how I could possibly go from 10 effortless Sun Salutations to this mess. How could I digress this way? What is it that I'm not seeing? The only comforting thought right now is that perhaps I've hit a plateau.

In geology and earth science, a plateau, also called a high plateau or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. Perhaps that's where I'm travelling right now.

A fellow teacher said, "Sometimes I struggle with an easy pose and I don't understand why. But I just kept practicing and it went away just as suddenly as it appeared. So I guess you just have to keep at it."

I've been diligently practicing for three months and the plateau (if that's what it is!) persists in stretching itself even further out. I'd really like to ride it out but I also need to know that the landscape will change down the road. Preferably very soon down the road!


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