Class was great. I made it all the way through without skipping anything. I didn't feel hampered by my knee at all. I felt like I'm making progress in Half Moon, and in the backbends. I put myself in the hottest part of the room. Janna had the heat cranked, and it didn't bother me at all. I came out of class feeling great and very pleased with myself.
And then, a while later, my knees started to ache, and I have no idea what I did to them. This time it wasn't just the injured one, though it hurt more. Both of them had a kind of deep ache in them, and it didn't make much difference whether I was bearing weight or staying still. Very strange, and I'm not sure what to make of it. But it means I'm in store for some more rest.
The day 242 meditation asks us to conduct an experiment. First he says to let your mind wander, either over past events or over your expectations. He suggests that you notice how readily your emotions track the quality of the things you remember -- happy memories tend to yield happy thoughts, and sad memories are just that. Gates says that the emotions here are real, but they are based on a fantasy. The danger, he says, is that our emotions become a slave to the "soap operas" that our imagination produces.
He then contrasts this with sustaining your attention on something you are doing here and now. When we do this, we might still feel joyful, sad, angry. But in this case, we know that the basis for the emotion is real and that we can work with it.
So what? It's tempting to think that happiness based on a fantasy is just fine, and may be preferable to some of what reality pushes at us. That was my first reaction. Gates' point, however, is that when we stay in the present we can work with it, and this gives us room to grow and develop. Sticking with our imagination and our memories leads to a kind of stasis. It gives us nothing to grab onto, nothing to change, and no way to grow.
Asana practice gives us the laboratory for learning how to work in the present. And it shows us the changes that become possible by simply staying present. And I think this is very useful.
But I think Gates misses out a bit on the importance of daydreaming. In the right perspective, a good daydream can be a very nice, pleasant and satisfying thing. In fact, I think where the real difficulty lies is when people start confusing or intermingling the two. There's nothing wrong with retreating to a very nice daydream. And there's certainly nothing wrong with living and working in the present. The problem arises when people let their daydreams, their memories, and their illusions interfere with their everyday life.