"A jerk can walk into a meditation hall and emerge a more focused jerk." --Gary Kraftsow
You probably know by now that I love me some inspirational quotes. I have found, in my love affair with glittery words, that they often come and go, often forgotten before they have a chance to seed. Not always. I have thought of the above quote at least once a week since the time I heard it three years ago. It has staying power. It takes on the voice of my conscience now, asking me if I'm practicing and teaching with integrity. As I say in class a lot, it matters a whole lot more how you are doing the practices of yoga than which practices you are actually doing and what words you are using to define your practice and how many beads you are wearing (guilty, here). If your perception is a glass window, how are you cleaning it off so that you can see more clearly, beyond ego, beyond pleasure/pain dynamics, beyond all the roles you have assumed you need to fill?
In its long history, yoga has offered many ways to purify, some quite extreme. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can see some of them for yourself. I highly doubt (though never say never, I suppose) I will partake in dhoti kriya (video not for the squeamish). So what is a modern, urban yogi to do? This was a question posed to the ever-wise Gabriel Halpern during a recent class. He said that the ancients were pointing clearly toward an important truth: seek to purify. Seek to weed out what is holding you back. Seek to clear the shadows and ghosts and shiny things that prevent you from seeing clearly and conducting yourself with integrity.
A jerk can walk into a meditation hall and emerge a more focused jerk. I know. I've seen it happen. I've felt it happen, at times.
As a student of yoga, I seek to purify. As a teacher of yoga, I must always assess what in my life and in my mind is preventing me from communicating this practice in the best way that I possibly can with all the limitations of being human.
So let's get practical. One thing remains clear: I spend too much time plugged in, flitting from one electronic device to another. This week, until Friday, I will do a media fast: iPhone set up to only be a phone, computer stowed, only essential work emails answered once a day, Facebook mercifully quiet. It's not much. It's not extreme. But it's my way to purify for the time being.
See you in a little while, my online friends.
The wisdom in me sees and honors the wisdom in you.