August 5, 2012

Om Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.

Oh, how life has dealt me some blows in the last few months.

Through my tears, my sad faces, my anger I've managed to finally lay down a second a job and pick up some yoga classes to sub.

And through those days where all I want to do is pull the covers over my head, I get up, sit on my cushion and practice my pranayama.  Some days I get to the yoga shala.  Some days it's a half practice.  Some days my body aches.  Some days I touch my fingers in Supta Kurmasana with my ankles crossed.  There's progress even in the twilight - or maybe this is the sunrise. 

I find myself impatient with the human race.  Someone pointed out to me that maybe I am simply observing my own impatience with myself.  I opened my blue book this morning - my yoga book, where I write my yoga teachings - to read about the 6 enemies that cover the heart or the arishadvargas, according to Pattabhi Jois (as taught to me by my teachers, Jeff and Harmony Lichty).

1) Kama - desire
2) Krodha - anger
3) Lobha - greed
4) Moha - delusion
5) Mada - pride
6) Matsarya - jealousy

Pattabhi Jois is quoted to have said, "these are not external enemies; but in fact, all our external enemies are born from the arishadvargas, from the internal enemies, so that what we have inside us, what our heart says, is what we are forced to see outside."

So, for me this essentially means, what I see, what frustrates me, what saddens or angers me are mirror images of what exist inside of me - emotions that I need to let go of or become detached from.

Pattabhi Jois also explained that these enemies are destroyed through chanting mantras and through the practice of surya namaskaras (sun salutations).  The mantra he deemed the most important is the mantra from the Krsna Yajur Veda, which I refer to myself as the Bhadram mantra.

Bhadram Karanedhih shrunuyaama devaah
Bhadram pashye-maakshabhir yajatraah
Sthirairangais tushtuvaagumsas tanubhih
Vyashema devahitam yadaayuh
Om Shanthi Shaantih Shaantih

(There is more to the mantra but this is the part I learned while in TT and it is short enough for me to repeat three times in the morning before my pranayama.)

It translates as,
"O gods, may we who are engaged in the pursuit of spiritual knowledge, hear only the auspicious with our ears, see only the auspicious with our eyes, not evil ones, please make my body strong and firm, so that I may have the power to speak only auspicious and divine things, and please make my words unwavering in their value."

I've combined two translations that I have because this is how it sits with me and how I feel it when I repeat this to myself in the mornings.

So this morning I tried to embark on the day with feeling no anger to any one person and above all to try to avoid reacting to anyone's emotions.  I think it was successful, I had to remove myself from a situation once in order to not take someone's bad day personally but I left my job today with no resentment, no annoyance and no anger.

It most definitely wasn't easy.  But nothing's been easy lately.  I might as well embrace it.  I've heard that the faster or more easily someone climbs, the harder they fall.  So maybe it's better that my climb is difficult.  Maybe one day I will land softly.

I hope everyone has a soft landing.

Om. Shantih. Shantih. Shantih.