Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not Shopping for A Set of Rules

I am not shopping for a set of rules. When I discovered yoga, my experiences began to change in unpredictable and even indefinable ways. My feelings shifted around, my coping mechanisms came apart and deeply embedded patterns began to dissolve around something else. That something else was not a series of asana, a membership in a new a religion, or adherence to a specific yoga doctrine. That something else was openness to possibility and a lessening of attachment to judgment (or opinion), along with an ever increasing ability to be (and to function) in and from that place of openness and less attachment.

This has strengthened my ability to be aware without smearing that awareness with color coding. I can see the overlays and more easily the core substance without the overlays. I can choose to use an overlay or notice that it is an overlay that is causing my reactivity. There is new energy in me, from me, for me. There is a natural release of my emotional clenching or grasping, which has cleared doorways long blocked and made for new paths where I can choose to walk.

Structures support and restrict. My own bones provide me with plenty of experience with both these directions - support and restriction! My mind does too, with its dogged pursuit of meanings, its patterns of logic, and its apparent inability to process some information, even in its repetitive nature and its inquisitive nature. All handcrafts and industries, academic disciplines, and belief systems have their structures too. Social systems, financial systems, all human doings are constantly generating and chafing within the structures we knowingly and unknowingly accept. And yet, we seem to search endlessly for something that answers the big and the small questions, trying to satisfy the deep restlessness of our intellect or heart, to assuage our physical impulses, to temper or enthrall our passionate nature.

I find the ancient yogic texts interesting. I am fascinated by Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as they lay out the parts of human structure (the questions) that we all run into as we continue in our investigations. I don't see them as rules. It interests me that there are so many different ways of approaching yoga practice and teaching, evolved by individuals and groups. People from so many different cultures and time periods have been playing with these ideas, and that is very interesting to me as well. Yet reading the ancient texts, and the contemporary books on these subjects, is just what it is -- part of this search for understanding openness (emptiness). The search is ongoing, and the direction always uncertain, unknown. Every revelation opens into more inquiry. If there is any structure to this, it is that of being present again, and again, and again, in that moment of inquiry.

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