“Fire burning me up
Desire taking me so much higher
And leaving me whole”~Augustana
It has been a particularly long month full of circumstances and situations that have been challenging and uncomfortable. It has been sprinkled with difficult conversations that I simply could not put off any longer. My Yoga Practice has allowed me to arrive, on the other side of these events and discussions, in a better place.
Ode Magazine recently published an article called “Championing difficult conversations: It’s not what you say, but how“. The author, John Kinyon, states: “The human mind, I believe, often wants the peace and security of knowing – as much as possible and ahead of time – what to do.” This, of course, is unrealistic. The more time and energy we waste getting caught up in all of the different possibilities and outcomes, the less strength and integrity we possess when actually having the conversation or interaction. He suggests that one way, perhaps a better way, to have a difficult conversation is to “focus on the how, the process through which knowing what to say and do next can arise out of the present moment, independent (but also inclusive) of one’s worldview, value system and role.”
This is what Yoga prepares us to do. We learn that with breath, compassion, and honesty we can see ourselves through challenging practices with beauty and grace. Our practice teaches us to “sit in the fire of the heart”. Danny Arguetty talks about this In “nourishing the teacher”. He writes: “Giving ourselves permission to be present with uncomfortable and intense situations, though often difficult in the moment, is ultimately of tremendous value.”
If you are able to be present, you can place yourself in a less reactionary state of mind and being. Take a few deep breaths as you witness what comes up for you. In that pause we are often able to find clarity and we are able to decipher skillful action.
Danny also shares this powerful and pertinent poem from Rumi:
“A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot
where it’s being boiled.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
The cook knocks him down with the ladle.
“Don’t you try to jump out.
You think I’m torturing you.
I’m giving you flavor,
so you can mix with spices and rice
and be the lovely vitality of a human being.
Remember when you drank rain in the garden.
That was for this.”
Grace first. Sexual pleasure,
then a boiling new life begins,
and the Friend has something good to eat.
Eventually the chickpea
will say to the cook,
“Boil me some more.
Hit me with the skimming spoon.
I can’t do this by myself.
I’m like an elephant that dreams of gardens
back in Hindustan and doesn’t pay attention
to his driver. You’re my cook, my driver,
my way into existence. I love your cooking.”
The cook says,
“ I was once like you,
fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time
and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.
My animal soul grew powerful.
I controlled it with practices.
and boiled some more, and boiled
once beyond that,
and became your teacher.”
I am grateful for my practice, my teachers, boiling, and the fire. I am also grateful for my discipleship, for being a chickpea : )