Monday night in YTT we discussed the history and paths of yoga. I will honestly say I was only somewhat engaged in this discussion, as it had been a long day at work (as Mondays usually are! At least in the mental health world- people, would it be too much to ask to have a meltdown on a Wednesday instead of over the weekend?).
I’ve noticed I have a hard time just SITTING for three hours learning about this yoga stuff. I’m finding that sitting on floor for hours on end during these lectures is my biggest challenge. I get restless. My butt hurts. My legs and ankles fall asleep. I look around and want to yell out, “is anyone else wanting to go for a run around the block? How are you people sitting so calmly?”
But I don’t. I pretend I love sitting in lotus on a pillow for a few hours. I grin and grimace and try to look peaceful.
Until something sparks my interest. Like karma yoga. Last night I learned that Karma yoga is one of the four paths of yoga. This type is a path of action- karma yogis are those who work for change in the world. “That’s me!” I thought, leaning forward uncomfortably on my pillow. Our amazingly wise teacher Beth went on to describe that “karma” isn’t bad or good- contrary to our westernized notion of the term. We are actually creating karma for ourselves EVERY DAY. And that we still have a CHOICE in regards to karma- it isn’t something that just happens to us. We still have a choice in creating and cultivating our own experience in this body, and how we choose to respond to things that happen to us.
I came home after my long Monday to a quiet house. My husband left for work in California this week and I was bummed to walk in and not have him waiting for me. Instead, what I found was a sweet card, two valentine toys for Gus (our dog) and a gift bag from my favorite jeweler. And immediately, my thought went back to that evening’s lecture. In which Beth states, “in regards to karma, if you want to know how your past lives have gone, take a look at your present ones- they’re usually a good indication”
And at this moment, I was overwhelmed with appreciation for this life I have now, and gratitude for my previous experiences in this soul. Perhaps my mother was a saint (actually I’m convinced she was), but I have been blessed tremendously in this lifetime.
This theme has carried on into the rest of my week. Last night, my doorbell rang tonight and I excitedly answered thinking it was my kick ass BFF I was expecting. Nope, it was a young man supporting a grass roots effort and asking for support via $$$.
Let’s be honest with ourselves- how many times do we slam the door in these people’s face or hang up on them on the phone? I always use some excuse. “I’m sorry, we’re having dinner”, etc. Then I usually shut the door and say to my husband, “Those people are so annoying”
But I thought about karma. And I thought about ahimsa, one of the forms of the yamas (8 limbs of yoga)- ahimsa is about respect, compassion and friendliness. So I thought “what better way to practice ahimsa.” I listened to his cause. It was an organization I was familiar with and agreed with, but never took real action towards supporting. So I invited him inside to warm up, wrote him a check and wished him well in his endevours and passion for supporting his cause.
Because it’s almost Valentine’s Day. A day which reminds us of the importance of giving gratitude for what we have, and opening our heart to give and receive more love. Not just on February 14. Every day is a opportunity for making a small step towards change in the world.