Saturday, January 17, 2009

Good Grooves

When deepening one's practice of yoga one penetrates or becomes aware of different layers in the psyche and the body. Like peeling back the skin of an onion to reveal another strikingly similar layer. Yoga is a psychosomatic practice, it pertains to the mind and the body. For example, a yoga practice may make one feel stress free, buoyant and bright, but may also make a person become painfully aware of a deeper layer of their psyche that contains guilt and embarrassment. When a person becomes more aware of themselves they start to become more aware of their surroundings and their impact on their surroundings. Similarly, a yoga practice may make someone feel like their hamstrings and shoulders become more pliable and supple, but this level of progress will expose deeper layers of restriction or weakness in the body... for example the achilles and the iliopsoas.
The restriction in the mind and the body in the form of patterning is referred to as Samskaras in Buddhism. Samskaras are the fundamental impressions left on an individual, which are acquired in the present and the previous lives through various experiences. These samskaras prove to be the coded form of the entire life of an individual.
Everything we do or think leaves an imprint. Samskaras are like psychological and physiological grooves or slide paths that become harder to break or cease flow of as they get stronger. We all know how hard it is to break addictive habits!
For example, I was making a ginger beet soup yesterday and I decided to chop the fresh ginger root into tiny pieces using my left and less dominant hand. I couldn't believe how awkward and difficult it was to chop 1/4 of a cup of the stuff. I strongly kept wanting to switch hands and I became a little agitated. While this process was going on I was just observing the way my mind reacted to attempting to break a physiological habit. The groove was very deep. It made me wonder what kind of psychological grooves I may possess that I am not yet fully aware of.
There is much work ahead for me.
No one has ever said there isn't a little pain on the path to freedom. But maybe the pain doesn't have to be YOUR pain or MY pain. Maybe it is just pain, and it is universal.
In each moment we have the choice to create another samskara (volitional formation) through dullness, negativity and habit patterning. We also have the choice of making a good groove (mental disposition) by just observing reality as it arises with awareness of our impact on others and the earth. We have the choice of making good grooves.

My experience thus far has been that as soon as I feel like I have "gotten somewhere" with anything pertaining to becoming more liberated in my experience of life there is another layer waiting to be explored and peeled back to expose another. Ambition to become enlightened could either leave me perpetually unsatisfied or it could be balanced with the wisdom that I can be free in each stage of the path by realizing the true and pure nature of perfect awareness without judgement or self reference. There may be steps to take, slowly and persistently, but freedom can be in each step and with each breath. The balance is tedious, and my mind continually wants to label and own things as they come up into my experience, but I feel the most progress when I appreciate and observe the small things and when I act for someone else's benefit.

The mind and body is a wonderful apparatus isn't it?

Speaking of which we went climbing in the sun today! The first pitches of the year... and I was free when I observed the sensation of the first sunlight hitting skin after a few long weeks of winter.

I hope you enjoyed it too.


(0v0) said...

Aaah! Grimmly over in the UK is a fan of your handstand vids or something like that. :-)

Wonderful to see you two practicing up in Squamish. Thanks for sharing about your practice.

Warmest wishes to you and peace...

Lindsay said...

beautiful post Lydia....

barb said...

Brett Dennen - Aint No Reason

very appropriate and inspiring.
time to get back to the mat.

ebean said...

Inspiring :)