Thursday 10:30 with Lenette
Lenette led another really strong class today. People stayed together, and the energy in the room was really high. It was really hot, especially to start. And I almost blew myself up in the standing series -- I had to skip out of the first set of Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee. This is happening more and more, and I'm on the fence about what it means. It's hard for me to believe that I'm really losing stamina. Maybe it shows that I'm pushing even harder in the earlier part of the standing series. That, at least, is the optimistic way to view it. Anyway, the classes are good overall, so I'm not going to worry too much about it.
Yesterday's meditation was about acknowledging the spiritual light or the divinity in yourself. This reminded me of the yoga greeting and farewell: "Namaste." I've been told that it literally means "The light in me bows to the light in you." For a single word, I think this is just about the coolest and most powerful greeting. I wish there was some simple, and non-dorky, way of saying something similar in English. Instead, we get "Howyadoin?"
The other thing Gates brings up again is how exercising the light within you is like exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Lenette has said the same thing about commitment -- that its a muscle and needs to be worked to make it stronger.
Yesterday's meditation, I think, runs contrary to certain kinds of Christianity. First off, there is the idea that we are devine and fundamentally good. Some Christians insist that man's natural state is that we are basically dust infused with original state, and that we can only improve through God's grace. Moreover, these same people (I believe) would insist that all grace is a favor from God. Taken to its extreme, this leads to the Calvinist idea of predestination and the elect. Gate's says instead that we can bring ourselves to the light by taking the right first step, and that taking each step makes the next one a bit easier.
This tension doesn't worry me, but I do find it interesting, partially because its the first thing that I've noticed in the book that seems like it might run afoul of any mainstream religious teachings.
Today's meditation lands us safely back in the yamas, by introducing the last of the five yamas: non-hoarding. In its most narrow form, this would seem to apply to possessions. We've made it a practice in our house to get rid of things that we don't use anymore or no longer need. Just a little while ago, I took this a step further, by getting rid of about 10 boxes of books. Until then, I had basically kept every book that I had ever read since junior high school. For me, it wasn't that easy getting rid of the books. But they were simply cluttering things up and not doing any good. I don't know that this made any big change, but I have noticed that now that I no longer have EVERYTHING I ever read, I'm much more likely to lend out or simply give people the books that I do have. And I think that's a good thing, because the books certainly weren't doing anyone any good by just sitting on my shelves.
Later, I'll have more to say about non-hoarding, or non-attachment, as it applies to our ideas, and not just to our stuff.