Last night my imagination started to take off. I heard a large truck and my mind started telling the story of what if it’s a plane and it’s doing an emergency landing here because it’s had some sort of failure. My breath quickened. I started to panic.
Two weeks ago I chipped my heal bone doing a front flip and for the first week it was improving substantially each day but then last weekend I went a little bit overboard with activity (walking, dancing) and this week the healing seems to have plateaued.
So I began to ask myself – what is healing? How does it work? And how does the body heal?
It seemed like a fitting time to read the Yoga of Healing by Swami Radha again and as I begin to read a message rings out to me loud and clear. Do not ask for a miracle, if you’re not willing to do your part. Don’t ask for spiritual healing if you’re not willing to rest your foot, get enough sleep, eat well.
Bone healing takes calcium, rest. And so this week I work from home to save the travel, take Friday off completely, use a cane, drink more smoothies.
Radha then goes onto describe the practices taught at Yasodhara Ashram as tools to aide healing. Meditation, relaxation, pranayama, yoga.
And I remember that I know these tools, I have these tools.
And as I reflect on my injury, I can see it as a reminder to do what I already know is healthy for me. To eat well, get enough sleep, rest, and make time for meditation and relaxation in my daily life.
…the need of mental training, or regular, orderly, purposeful exercise of the mind, is far greater than that of the body in most cases; for at our general stage of growth most [people]’s bodily activities are well-ordered and controlled , and the body is obedient to their will, but their minds are usually utterly disobedient, idle and luxurious.
And I’m beginning to see how this manifests for me.
For the past couple of days I’ve felt slightly disconnected. And today I finally realized I don’t need to beat myself up about it. I’m able to see that beating myself up is flowing into the old thought pattern of not good enough, not smart enough, not efficient enough.
I’m realizing that I feel uncentered and that’s okay. I am centered enough.
Utterly disobedient – until I choose to make a change.
And so I’m beginning to watch what happens in my mind. To notice and to write. To become the detective and put the clues together. To realize when a negative pattern is happening and to shift away. To exercise choice.
And there’s an amazing freedom that comes. Realizing that when my mind is utterly disobedient it causes a lot of pain. And then when I find ways to change the pattern the pain lifts.
One step at a time.
I am learning to change my mind.
Pioneer in bringing Yoga to the West, Swami Radha writes, “Maya [or illusion] is seeing the form without the essence.”
When I get caught up in my Stats page – reading about how many people “like” my blog – that’s where I get caught, in illusion. I see the form without the essence. I get caught up in the details and forget the purpose.
I started the blog to learn how to become who I want to be, to learn to live my ideals. And so as long as I’m learning I’m connected. So I can step back from worrying about Likes, Followers, Marketing My Message and relax into the process.
Maybe one day I will have dazzling internet fame – and maybe I won’t – but that is not my purpose.
I am learning already. The victory is already won.
I recently started reading Rolling Thunder by Doug Boyd, a book my sister Renee gave me for Christmas last year. This passage really struck me,
“It’s not very easy for you people to understand these things because understanding is not knowing the kind of facts that your books and teachers talk about. I can tell you that understanding begins with love and respect. It begins with respect for the Great Spirit, and the Great Spirit is the life that is in all things – all the creatures and the plants and even the rocks and minerals. All things – and I mean all things – have their own will and their own way and their own purpose; this is what is to be respected.”
“Such respect is not a feeling or an attitude only. It’s a way of life. Such respect means that we never stop realizing and never neglect to carry out our obligation to ourselves and our environment.”
Of all the teachings I have heard, these words are most important and the most valuable for the contemporary aspirant upon the path of Karma Yoga, the yoga of action. No teaching for the path of action could be more fundamental or primary than the teachings of love and respect- for oneself, for one’s world, and for the Great Spirit, which is all life in all things. The aspirant can perform no greater service for his world than to be mindful that his acts, even his thoughts and speech, become a part of the condition of the world.
I’ve lived at Yasodhara Ashram for over a year doing Karma Yoga, selfless service, and in reading this passage I am able to better understand what Karma Yoga, the yoga of action, is all about. Karma Yoga is right action. It is every thought, every word, every interaction.
And I’m realizing that it’s a yogic practice I’ve been doing for a long time. As a child, I tried to “be a good person,” as an activist I was trying to make positive change in the world. And I my journey has been refining what Right Action really is. I have been learning that the word kindness doesn’t mean doing whatever the other person wants, or taking responsibility for another person’s pain. True kindness is supporting each other to take responsibility for ourselves.
And I have this warrior part of me and I am realizing that this warrior has to do Karma Yoga. This warrior must act. Right now my Karma Yoga is growing nutritious food for this community that I care about and being kind (using my new definition) to people who come into the garden. What’s next is not totally clear but it will definitely be Karma Yoga.
Thank you to all who have offered support – visible and invisible – that continues to allow me to become who I am meant to be.
 Boyd, Doug. Rolling Thunder. New York: Dell Publishing House, 1974. p. 51-52.