Tuesday, June 9, 2009

109/158 -- Steady and Sweet

Sunday Off.

I initially planned on going to class.  But this weekend was the finale of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition, which is held every four years.  I got caught up in the webcasts over the past few weeks, and decided to see the last finalists on Sunday, instead of going to class.  

The winners, if you are interested, are a 19 year old boy from China named Zhang.  He turned 19 just 2 days before the competition ended, and if he had been born two days later he would have been ineligible.  The other winner (they shared first prize) was a 20 year old boy from Japan names Tsuji.  He will become famous for the wrong reason:  he is blind.  Thinking back on it, I should have written about him with regard to the Helen Keller quote from a few days ago.  He is someone who may truly regard his "handicap" as a blessing.  

If anyone is interested in classical piano, I highly recommend checking some of the streaming video located at www.cliburn.tv

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  The day 157 meditation talks about being steady and sweet.  With asana practice, Gates uses headstand as an example.  This is unfortunate for me, because I've never been able to do headstand in the few gym yoga classes where teachers thought we might be ready for it.  So I truly have no connection with what he is talking about here.  The example he gives just doesn't give me anything to chew on.

In daily life, he connects steadiness with duties, and it is a form of giving.  I think the parallel in asana practice is the focus and the energy that we put into the pose.  And in daily life, he connects sweetness with compensation.  I'm sure here he is not just talking about money, but about all the good things that flow from right and fair dealing.  So sweetness means compensation which means receiving.  In asana practice, this comes at the moment of satisfaction, content, and effortlessness.

The aim in asana, and in life, is to be both steady and sweet.  That means to be simultaneously giving and receiving.  I think this is one aspect of balance.  (And it now occurs to me that he may have used headstand as an example because he is talking precisely about balance.)

I have to say that I'm not quite sure still what this means when it comes to asana.  And I'm disappointed with not being sure.  One of the mysteries of asana practice is why it seems naturally to lead to spiritual growth.  And here, I think Gates is giving insight into one of the answers.  It has to do with being steady and sweet.  And he assures that being steady and sweet in asana practice leads to skillfulness in life.  Great.  But I'm still not quite sure what it means.

I almost feel like he finally answered the ultimate question of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.  But instead of 42, I got "steady and sweet."  Maybe I'm just in a bad mood.

1 comment:

hannahjustbreathe said...

Well, at least you're not alone. I don't get it either. "Sweet"?? Really?? Hardly a word I think of when I think of yoga. Or life philosphies.