I have been struggling this week. Practice, life, and relationships have plateaued. This is life. But what is different this time around is that I take solace in the fact that it is temporary. Everything is temporary and always changing.
Below is my teacher training journal for the week. It isn’t a profound as usual. For this I am disappointed. But this I remind myself, ‘this is temporary’.
I try my best to speak only when there is something to say. Surprisingly, keeping my mouth closed has not been the challenge. What is difficult is honing the ability to discern what is actually something to say and what is nothing; or worse, hurtful.
When I was a kid, I always got good marks. The only negative thing that would show up in the ‘comments’ section would be that I wouldn’t raise my hand. For most of my life, I have acted under the impression that what I have to say is more important that what everyone else has to say. This does not mean that I think others to be uninteresting or not intelligent. I sometimes just get so eager to contribute that I forget to listen. Listening and speaking cannot happen at the same time. One cannot be giving something while taking. Have you ever tried drinking a glass of water while peeing? It is the most unnerving sensation. This giving and receiving at the same time, this ‘multitasking’ is not natural. It was not until recently that I realized that always waiting for my turn to speak causes a lot of stress. My mind is less focused, I can’t retain information as well, and my relationships suffer.
Anticipation is not necessarily a negative emotion or state. As a person that often experiences these feelings, it keeps me looking at the big picture, allows for me to be perceptive, and keeps my eyes on the horizon. I am always moving toward something with tenacity. However, anticipation paves the way for suffering. With anticipation comes expectation and attachment. Attachment leads so suffering. By predicting what another person is going to say, or trying to plan the perfect thing to say next, I end up missing the moment. How we stay present in each moment while still having goals, intention and direction?
The answer is awareness. As I have been going to class, and thinking about the particular guna (qualities that make up everything) nature of myself, the people on the street, the cat, my lunch, my practice, I have become more aware. Anticipation is a fire that burns in the pit of the belly. It can keep you warm and light your way, but it can easily get out of control and burn up all of the trees in the forest. Instead of anticipating or waiting for my turn to demonstrate or teach a pose, for my turn in line, or for the commute to be over, it is important to always remain curious and open to each moment. Over the past five weeks, I have found that I am able to learn more when I do not know what to expect than when I try preparing for class so that I can make a good impression. When there are no expectations, there is only awareness. All we are is awareness.
In order for me to be a yoga teacher that selflessly serves my students (there should be no other kind!), I must operate solely out of awareness. It is said that gurus transmit all of their powers to their students. I am not looking to be a guru, but it is true that, as a student, you absorb everything from your teacher. I have found myself responding better to teachers that are present, attentive, curious, and engaged. There is a plan, but the plan can change. A great teacher not only knows how to sequence and adjust, but they also know how to keep returning to the present moment. These are the qualities I will strive to give to my students throughout this training and to all people I meet- inside and outside of the studio.