"Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.”
- Zen Proverb -
There was once a man who loved to complain and find fault with everyone and everything. Nothing pleased him, so he moved from one town to another, declaring as he left each place, “I am going to another town, where the people are friendlier.”
A wise man perceived what the problem was, and as the angry man began striding along the dusty road to yet another destination, the wise man compassionately called out, “Oh brother, moving from place to place does not serve you well. Wherever you go, there you will also find yourself. Your shadow is always with you.”
ON THE MATA
A truth; it's easy to blame others for how things are going in our life. We can blame the goverment, our boss, or our partner. It's easy to complain about where we are, and it's easy to wonder if things will 'get better.' Today in our practice let's not do the easy thing. Because there is another truth, "we are the ones who usually get in our own way." And practice empowers us to clear our path and soak up every part of our journey.
When the heat feels like to much, blame the teacher. When the music is not to your liking, complain about it. When the teacher doesn't do the variation of the pose you like, wonder if this class is going to get any better. In all of these situations you immediately remove yourself from PRACTICE. Today, return the next inhale and return to your yoga practice. Just practice.
As we moved through the class, we returned to a key line, "Whereever you go, there you find yourself." Every once in a while I would also phrase it in a question, "Are you here?, Are you practicing?"
OFF THE MAT
Years ago I was in a BUSY market in Bangkok, Thailand. It was so loud. It was crowded. It was humid and hot. People bumping into me, cars honking, scooters whizing by with no regard and so much yelling and bartering. I blamed Ryann for picking this market, I mean she knows I don't like big crowds like this. I was complaining non stop and out loud wondered over and over, "when can we leave here".
Inspiration is just a breath away.
Then I turn around to see the crowd seemingly parting naturally and with ease. It was a Buddhist Monk, and amongst the market chaos, he was so calm. He walked with such peace and I felt that peace. I felt his peace. As he moved, he seemed to allow that peace to spread in all areas of his path. That was my first touch with buddhism, and within a moment, I went from complaining to being inspired. Inspiration is just a breath away. Ryann saw this in my body language and gently leaned over to me and said, "You too can walk with such peace."
What she was saying is that I didn't have to stand in my shadow. I could stand in my light. I could be a source of light. Whereever I go, there I am. Whereever you go, there are. So you can go on blaming, complaining and wondering or you can breathe deep, step forward in your life and find out for yourself.
The monk had passed me, but I followed a little and captured a picture. Here it is below. This picture hung in our Moksha Yoga Winnpeg studio for many years. It was always a reminder for me that I can walk with peace no matter my surroundings, and I can respond with peace no matter the situation.