There’s no experience we’ve had that is so unique that it can’t be shared.
Wrong thinking stems from mis-perception.
It would bore and depress me to try and enumerate or meditate upon all the ways we as humans get things wrong–we show an amazing mastery at it, and the consequences are often dire.
Instead, I will direct you to ZeFrank, who has a wonderful story of people united by the realization that their feelings, so deep and personal, were shared by others–because it seems to me that the mis-perception that lies at the heart of so much suffering is that we are alone, that our pain cannot be understood, that no one can sympathize.
Being courageous in our convictions means keeping them even when we cannot reshape the world to reflect them.
There’s no virtue in being right, only in being free.
A practice (something on the order of 30 minutes)
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose) > Side Bends
- Tadasana > Utthanasana (Simple Forward Fold) > Ardha Utthanasana (Half-Fold) > Tadasana (Repeat Several times)
- Surya Namaskar A (Tadasana > Utthanasana > Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) > Palankasana (Plank pose) > Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) > Adho Mukha Svanasana > Utthanasana > Tadasana) (Repeat twice)
- Surya Namaskar A w/ Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
- Surya Namaskar A w/ Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) > Parsvottanasana (Intense side stretch)
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Downward Facing Tree – AKA Handstand)
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Prep (Pigeon, w/ thigh stretch)
- Agnistambhasana (Fire Logs)
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II Prep (Lunge thigh stretch)
- Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
- Ardha Dhanurasana (Opposite hand/foot from table)
- Balasana (Child’s pose)
- Ardha Matseyandrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes)
- Gomukhasana (Cow-face pose)
- Janu Sirsasana (Knee to head)
- Omega (Open Cobbler’s pose)
- Jathara Parivartanasana (Supine Twist)
Some contemplations (consider one a day, in order, repeating as time permits):
- What pose releases the most tension in your body, and what pose causes the most tension in your body?
- What part of your body finds the greatest release of tension? What part of your body finds the least release of tension?
What is right thought? Right thought is direct perception, deduction, and scriptural testimony–that is, the things you have experienced, the things that you can reason about and the ideas that have endured the test of time.
These all sound like good things–they are ways to try and see the world as it is, which is part of the fundamentals of yoga–so how could these be manifestations of the vrtti? This xkcd cartoon would seem to sum it up:
Being right can easily put us on a path of distraction, when we need not just to be right, but to be acknowledged as right; ultimately, when we decide to impose our will on the world around us. The more sophisticated our practice, the more we understand freedom in our bodies and in our hearts, the more we realize that we can never impose freedom, that we can only try to help others see how they are limiting themselves. They have to find their freedom themselves.
Working at home presents you with the maximum amount of distraction. And yet it also provides you with the maximum opportunity for focus.
The yoga practice is like treading that balance all day, every day.
Setting aside distractions is a path to engaging with our experience.
1.5 vṛttayaḥ pañcatayyaḥ kliṣṭā ‘kliṣṭāḥ
1.6 pramāṇa viparyaya vikalpa nidrā smṛtayaḥ
We are an ocean of experience–only our awareness feels like a tiny drop.
Right thinking, wrong thinking, vision, sleep and memory.
These are the things we mistake for what is.
We often seek mediation between our experience and…our experience. A path to “understand” rather than simply being in the experience. We seek reasons and justifications for what is happening, we cultivate a vision of why it’s happening, we try to escape in in sleep and memory.
But in the end, the experience is what is.