Thursday, September 24, 2009

181/264 - Experience of yourself

Monday 4:30 with Janna

I've fallen so far behind that I can barely remember the classes anymore. Here's what I vaguely recall from Monday. The heat was up, but it felt good. I got through the whole class without skipping. My knee basically felt better, but it still definitely comes and goes.

I only remember one thing about the poses. I was in second set of Cobra and I felt something strange and nice going on in my inner back. I was thinking to myself that I should try to remember and repeat whatever I had done to get into the pose. And then Janna complimented my pose. This came as a surprise for two reasons. First, Janna usually sticks pretty close to the dialogue, and I could probably count on one hand the number of specific compliments I've gotten from her. That's not a criticism, its just how it is, and I take it to mean that each compliment from her means just a bit more. On top of that, I almost never get a compliment in Cobra. So that means that whatever I was feeling, it matched up with something good in how the pose looked. Now if only I can remember how I did it. (It may be simply from working on Rohit's workshop tips.)

The day 256 meditation takes us on a very quick recap of what the yamas, niyamas, and asanas do for us. Yamas purify negative energy. Niyamas channel energy to promote health. Asanas teach us to focus on the matter at hand, and to strip away all things superfluous. On top of these, pranayama forces further focus, while refining health. It's an amazingly terse summary. I have no quarrel with it, but it seems to me that it basically takes the entire book to unpack that brief summary.

Gates then goes on to ask us to try an experiment. Focus on your breathing, and remember something that happened yesterday. Then do the same, but remember yourself doing a very good deed. Then simply breath while focusing on your breath and listening closely to your environment. In all three cases, he asks "What is your experience of yourself?"

I tried this, but I have a problem. When asked this way, I find myself completely at a loss. If he asked, what did I feel, I might be able to come up with something, and perhaps even something different, for all three things. But for some reason, when he asks what my experience of myself was, I simply don't know how to respond. Here's what I'm trying to say: I have emotions like most anyone else. I get angry, happy, sad, troubled, etc... But when I'm angry, for example, I am simply angry. I don't typically have an experience of myself as being angry. That's just a bit too mediated for me. Or maybe I'm just quibbling over words. Anyway, when I think of the question as he asked it, I find that I am just at a loss about how to answer it.

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