In order to practice, we have to surrender, we have to take a risk. Otherwise, what we’re doing is standing back in order to judge, in order to feel superior. Often the obstacle is fear: we don’t think we’ll ever succeed. And so we’d rather stand apart and be cynical, to feel protected in that way, not having to try…
We need to be able to utilize the positive energy of wondering, of wanting to know the truth for ourselves and working to do that, and not get lost in cynicism or endless speculation.
-Sharon Salzberg, “Sitting on the Fence,” from Tricycle Fall 2001
How will you take a risk today?
Oh Lord. Not another blog! Yes, another blog.
Over a year ago I wrote something I posted to facebook which was actually intended to be my first post on my new blog. What can I say? I get distracted. Tony Robbins is apoplectic right now. Sorry, Tony.
I remember my early yoga classes where “monkey mind” was referenced. You know, the idea that the mind moves endlessly from one thought to the next. As the teacher guided the class through quieting the monkey mind, all I could think about was some caged monkey screeching and jumping from one side of the cage to the other. So much for quieting the mind. What can I say?…I’m flawed.
These days the monkey is a little quieter. My friend the monkey is always there. He enjoys sitting on my shoulder, sometimes in my lap, and other times he sits behind me…just looking…waiting. He waits for me wondering when I might become so distracted that he might make his entrance and take things a little further. He rarely gets the opportunity. Rarely.
Since starting teaching yoga, I don’t refer to monkey mind. I know what that visual did or, more importantly, didn’t do for me. I leave that out of the shala…wherever that may be. My focus is about quieting the mind and only about quieting the mind.
More importantly, what will you find here in this blog? Hmmm….some original material. Some material I find inspirational from other sources. Some videos. Some music. Some pics. Some posts will be one liners…some posts will be a little more. Hopefully there will be some food for thought and maybe a few laughs. Whatever. Monkey mind and all, right? What won’t you find here? I don’t know…’cause I don’t know what you’re looking for. I can say that I’m not sure this will be a space for spiritual enlightenment, but I can’t be sure. Remember… I’m flawed.
Will this be the best blog ever? Will I be the best writer ever? Probably. But I won’t know for sure unless I try. By the way, my first intended post is below. Check it out.
I stepped onto the rush hour 6 train at Spring Street letting go of the day’s business. No seats to be had, I stood and, as is my habit, took in what was happening around me…the young couple next to me entwined and making out, the dude bobbing to whatever was on his iPod, and the family of four, dad seemingly contemplating the day’s events, mom on her blackberry both book-ending their young daughters dressed in identical pink track suits giggling and discussing whatever might be important to two girls.
At Astor Place, a gentleman stepped onto the train and immediately began his apologetic request for spare change. As is seemingly customary, most on the train remained attentive to whatever they were reading including the woman next to me who was reading something about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, the two young girls in pink track suits were fixated on this man. They listened to every word he had to say.
As the gentleman continued his plea, he indicated that he was in no way too proud to accept food. The elder of the two young girls leaned over to her father to ask him something. He nodded. She immediately removed the backpack from her shoulders, unzipped it, and began feverishly rummaging through it…turning every few seconds to keep an eye on the gentleman to be sure he was still there. Pulling out books and papers…she reached deep inside to pull out a bunch of celery wrapped in clear plastic. She looked at the celery…looked at her Dad…and back at the celery.
At this point, the gentleman was nearly at the other end of the train as it pulled into Union Square. She pushed through the exiting passengers to deliver her offering to the gentleman. He thanked her graciously, she smiled and returned to her family where she immediately took up where she had left off with her sister.
God was dressed in a little pink track suit on the Uptown 6 train yesterday afternoon.
(originally published on facebook 4/2/2010)
“Man was made for joy and woe
Then when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine
A clothing for the soul to bind.”
— William Blake