Malaga beach, September 2019, Reading ‘Guruji’ by Eddie Stern and Guy Donahaye
The book changed my thinking.
Practise at last! I just did it. There weren’t postures and vinyasas and me, it was just One. Practise was inevitable, I was ready. I was as light and carefree as the sun and sea around me. It didn’t feel any effort at all. I didn’t change the practise, or consider making decisions or adaptations or skip vinyasas.
The book changed my thinking. In practise there should be no thinking, no ‘I’, no ‘I need this’ or ‘I don’t want that’. Guruji said ‘just do it’, and would tell people to hurry if they started to slow down or pick their toenails! It's so straightforward really. If you don’t stop it is possible, if not it is mentally tough. There is no space to let the mind wander and reproduce old habits and patterns based on the individual self and it’s samskaras. Before ( I realise now) I was projecting myself too much onto the practise; my fears and my struggles and doubts. The practise really is a mirror, our tendencies show themselves against the stark constant of repetition.
I always make an effort not to overdo it or to work my body too hard as I have in the past, but I have just realised that actually I work my head too much! I over- study, over- examine, my heart is hard! I should just do it! Stop thinking! Trust not to be a failure for not getting it right! I need to let go of some of the control, I can’t always know the ‘how’ or ‘why’ or ‘what will happen’, it doesn’t have to stop me or grip me and prevent me from moving forwards. I have completely frozen up because of this in the past, in jobs, in social situations, new experiences… This is another lesson the practise has for me.
I also changed the breath! In the Peter Grieve Chapter (page 305) he talks about ‘free breathing’, I was trying too hard with the breath! This time I made sure my breath wasn’t too long because I lacked power and lost focus before AND I didn’t force the Ujjayi. In this way my body and breath just walked together and it was beautiful, I just flowed through them. Too much breath is the same as too much mind, I have to find the right measure! Analogy- Sewing an embroidery; the needle was like the postures and the thread was the breath, the cloth the body and the hand the mind. After a while the hand wasn't there anymore!
It helps to read the stories and toils of all of the very experienced practitioners, I feel less alone. It really is important to have a teacher, a community. Now I know I am not the only one who struggles, who hurts, who finds it hard to maintain a practise.
I need to soften, try less, don’t make it a big deal, just do it. I’m at that point now three, four years in, where the postures don’t matter much anymore, it is something more spiritual, psychological, emotional… it’s about a deeper me. I am confronting my dark side, or better said; trying to get over myself and my dark side!!!
Today after practise at the port of Malaga I felt light, joyful, empty, pure as a child. Some might ask why is this useful in life? What is the point? If I can handle practise and it’s brutal confrontations with myself, my habits, my perspective, through remaining calm and trust then I am in a better place to handle life’s events too. I am also cleaned of any judgements or doubts or emotional burdens I may be carrying so they will not project into my day or it’s people or the world. This however. must be consistent and in constant check.
After practise today I now know why it is said that practise ‘unfolds’, and it was wonderful to behold! It was effortless, smoothe, silky, and efficient. Now, I have to learn to practise and surrender to what happens even when I am not in a good headspace, a nice setting or carrying a heavy or tired body. This is the work!
Maybe Guruji purposely didn’t learn English so as not to overcomplicate the deed of just doing the practise, the questions he would have received would have been endless.