We return to the cattle rancher mentioned in the Dec. 7 post. My assertion is that we each have a unique instrument for magnifying the creative impulse, a means we develop to expand into this life in service to something greater than ourselves.
I'll paint a picture. First, we can imagine a spark of inspiration, perhaps a childhood experience. An expansive sky at dawn while helping daddy or grandpa in the pasture. A seed is planted in a moment of undefinable rapture brought on by a flash of beauty and harmony. A desire is born, to give more in the service of something elusive and wonderful, something for which no child has words.
With a unique set of circumstances, as well as available tools and culture, the seed grows as the young rancher attends school, then seeks mentorship and cattle ranching work. Through trial and error, he or she learns humility. Droughts are withstood, wells run dry, fences deteriorate, maybe money runs low. But the rancher keeps a still place in his or her heart where the seed is nurtured that carries him through the refinery known as failure and setbacks. He or she reflects that there is indeed a price of tuition, and each error is a lesson from which to grow in wisdom and empathy for others.
In this case the cattle rancher's instrument is a lifetime of experience and skills to provide the highest quality product in the best way he or she possibly can, at the same time providing a livelihood to support a family. That is surely a service to something greater than ourselves.
At times we may question our value, asking why we're here. We may wonder if we have anything to offer and notice over time that the chase for material comforts brings waning satisfaction. I assert that each human life has the potential to be a finely tuned receiver for that great intelligence that's assumed so many names. Remember to notice the stillness. Notice what brings pure elation and honor these signpost on your journey.
Yoga isn't a religion, and it's certainly not just fitness. What is it then?
Yoga is a wide and welcoming pathway for removing the veil of misunderstanding.
By misunderstanding, I mean the nagging sense that we don't always do what might be best for ourselves or others. We sense there's a better way to recognize the things around us and in us more clearly. Yoga's most cherished guide, Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, posits that three activities are necessary in order to facilitate the removal of misunderstanding. The three activities are:
1. Tapas, or, inner cleansing. We choose to put ourselves in the "heat" of difficult situations: maybe a rigorous, sweaty yoga session, or perhaps sitting at the piano practicing scales for 2 hours a day. We choose to forgo momentary pleasures for future rewards. We "cook" ourselves in the fire of discipline to transform ourselves into something else.
2. Svadhyaya, or self-study. It means searching, asking questions, looking into ourselves.
3. Isvarapranidhana, or yielding to a power higher than ourselves. It is action not motivated by outcome, and we place value on the quality of action, not the fruits that can develop out of it.
Every yoga class at Flint Hills Yoga presents you with the guided opportunity for inner cleansing, self-study, and equanimity.
Like the controlled burns of these Flint Hills pastures, let's test the wind and light the match together in community. Your transformation is waiting.