“The yogi is able to place the candle of his awareness, or his attention, in a niche within himself, where the winds do not make the candle flame move.
That is where a sound, or a sight, or a smell, or a taste, or a sensation on the skin does not distract him. What is left to distract him, of course, are still his own thoughts, his memories, his plans. And it is here that the discipline that the yogi must impose upon himself becomes exquisitely difficult, and something requiring an extraordinary amount of patience.”
- Ram Dass
I just watched Mickey Lemle’s documentary Ram Dass, Fierce Grace. It is a portrait of Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), author, 60s guru, spiritual teacher, cohort of Timothy Leary, & author of Be Here Now, one of the most influential books of the 1970s. The film begins in the present, as Ram Dass deals with the effects of a massive stroke he suffered in February 1997 that left him physically incapacitated, & with impaired memory & speech.
Here is a link to the entire film on youtube: Watch Ram Dass, Fierce Grace
The film opens with the quote from above, and I was hooked. I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and through that practice I am finally starting to understand patience. I used to think patience just meant being calm when you have to wait on someone, or not getting worked up when you’re sitting in traffic…It wasn’t until quite recently, that I discovered how to be patient with MYSELF. I’m really good at having patience for others, but not so good at showing myself some compassion.
In yoga, I try to have patience with getting into and out of postures. I want to make sure that the work I am doing, the pain (mental or physical) that I am putting myself through, is for something positive. If I rush to make it to a posture, but I don’t engage the correct muscles, then what’s the point!? Now a days, it’s SO HARD for people to slow down. We are constantly multitasking, if we aren’t doing at least two things, we feel like we are missing out on something, or we are falling behind. But the truth is, we are missing EVERYTHING because we are trying to do too much.
I even like to multitask when I eat. Like, I pour a bowl of cereal and then I scramble to get a good TEDtalk on before I take the first bite…or I like to read a book while I eat, basically anything that isn’t eating, I like to do that while I eat. WHY?! I’m not sure…perhaps I am trying to not experience eating? It’s weird. But it’s true for all of us. We have a hard time being present, being exactly where you are. We go to dinner with a friend only to pick up our phones to check for texts, or quickly scroll through our facebook timelines to see what everyone else is “doing”.
I am kind of over being uncomfortable in the present moment. So that’s why I am practicing yoga like a nut job…it makes me practice being present. I am currently taking 1-3 yoga classes a day. I’m really lucky that I have the time right now, I wish everyone could do it! Anyway, I’m off to practice letting go, having patience, and maintaining integrity…and I’m going to ride my bike to the studio (if you don’t ride a bike, or haven’t in a while, GO DO THAT this weekend). I am still scared when I ride through the city, but once I get going, I feel like I’m 9 years old again, and it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
Hope everyone takes a moment to be in the moment today. All my love.