Monday, December 26, 2011

Lessons from a Sun Gazer

"Every positive change--every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness--involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception."
- Dan Millman,  author,  "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" (quote nabbed this from The Daily Love's daily curation)

My neighbor here in Mysore gazes at the sun every day. I see standing him out on his terrace, wrapped in a shawl, pacing a bit and staring east. He's in his 60s, or 7os, it's hard to tell, and is from this city ('of course,' he says when I ask him).  He's out there greeting the day even when it's chilly and the sky is more gray than clear. I always feel cheered when I see him up and about watching the sun.
It hasn't been a comfortable visit here in many ways, which has come as a surprise as it's not my first stint in Mysore. But nagging knee pain has slowed up the process of smoothing out and strengthening of my practice that I've experienced (and come to expect) on other trips....I've got to look at a whole lot of self-judgement and negativity I didn't know was lurking so close to the surface. It's also been, simply, a pain, and I've questioned just what am I doing here.
My teacher reminded we students recently that a lot of the pain [that comes up in yoga practice] is from previous injury or activities. Yoga just reveals them. Oh yea, my knees suddenly remember bike racing and down climbing mountains a little too well.  Still, it took about a week and a half of disappointment about having to modify poses and vacillating between going home early to realize the practice was working on me. It clearly has become not so much about what rather than how. So even though I've wanted to stop, and it isn't all that pretty, I haven't. 
Sharath also pointed out in a recent conference that “Sukha/dukha happiness and sorrow is part of our life. How we can handle these things is very important."
Clearly griping doesn't help. Getting up and doing what one can — celebrating the sun for instance — just might.

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