on the mat is a state of mind
It’s taken some time for me to process what happened during training yesterday, and while the title of this post is certainly making fun, it is in no way intended to discount the gravity of what we all experienced.
A little context for the situation: yesterday was a lecture based session. We learned about the philosophy of flow, we learned about the concept of a guru, and that of a kula (tribe) and that of a guru kula, in which each member of the tribe’s gifts start to emerge. Within our kula, on any given day, any one of us could be the teacher depending on the challenge and who’s strengths would best meet that challenge.
We learned about our dharma, or our highest alignment of purpose, not our divine purpose (god-given talents) – because you can easily walk away from a gift. But that thing that calls out to your soul, that makes your heart sing, that’s your dharma.
We learned the difference between a dual system ( transcendent, classical yoga in which the physical body is a problem to be solved and man is moving through various stages of enlightenment in pursuit of that goal), a non-dual system (essentially what happened in the 60s – it’s all LOVE, man!), and a paradoxical (Tantric) system in which this can me this and that. We experienced meditations from each yogic tradition.
When we got to the dual meditation, we went into a manta of neti-neti – translated as ‘not this, not that.’ After a few minutes of going through what I am not: I am not my job, I am not my parents, I am not a tuna sandwich, I am not a failure, I am not a shoelace, neti-neti, neti-neti, neti-neti…. I began to wonder, what the hell am I???
As I spoke to myself, I began to feel a pressure around my heart, followed by a pressure around my head, alternating, keeping time with my declarations of not-ness, until I realized – in true Fight Club fashion – I am Catie’s Eternal Head / Heart Conflict. Head, heart, head, heart, head, heart. It was hypnotic, until it stopped, for the briefest of moments, and I began to panic. Then, ever so slightly, I felt the pressure return. I felt my heart…and my head begin to pulse together, as if to tell me that I didn’t have to choose one or the other, I didn’t have to align myself exclusively with my heart or my head, but that on any given day, I am my own guru kula, and at any moment my heart or my head could be my teacher.
As I opened my eyes and came out of my trance, Shannon asked if anyone had experienced anything interesting. Wellllll… uh, define interesting. As I shared my experience, two things happened: my body temperature rose about 5 degrees in as many seconds, and Shannon announced to the class that they had just witnessed someone’s entire world view shift. I left class in a daze (and a mild sweat), unable to process exactly what had just happened. I came home, ate dinner, got in bed and passed out. I woke up this morning, pen in hand, and as my words began to give shape to my experience, I saw things so clearly. When we remove all the things that we are not, we are left only with the purest essence of who we are, and we are forced into all of our brilliance, amazement, and beauty, and we cannot help but be successful in doing so. You may not do such a great job of trying to be someone else, or fulfilling the expectations that others have for you, but no one will ever be more successful than you, at being you.
Onward + Inward.