Committing to change is hard for me. It’s not the commitment part that’s hard, but the discipline required to make the commitment long term.
I used to be able to commit to something and make it stick. As I look back over my 33 years of life I see a pattern that contributed to current difficulty with stick-to-it-ness. I was anorexic for a few years, and then bulimic. As I recovered, in an effort to make the healing complete, I began to eschew self restraint for fear that it may had roots in unhealthy denial. And, ah, it felt good to just indulge after the complicated rig-a-ma-roll of extreme dieting!
As I moved into adulthood and took a job (I was 16) I found it easier to surround myself with friends from work than friends from school. Which in turn made it easier to work A LOT and take extra shifts when asked. There was, in every job I held since I turned 16, a strong link between friendship and picking up extra shifts at work. At 23 and working in a huge Tex Mex restaurant with long, exhausting shifts and rewards for good behavior doled out in company money (always use on food or drink or Queso–which is both) my co-workers became like a (dysfunctional) family. I was on my feet so much and such long hours that I didn’t even think about the life I wanted to cultivate outside the taco-filled world.
This cost me in terms of developing a life outside the restaurant world. So now, I am trying to re-learn discipline not in terms of work and unhealthy self denial but in terms of cultivating life. Cultivating spiritual growth. Which of course involves denial, but the roots of that denial and the intention of the denial is not punishment but nourishment.
Which brings me to commitment: I am going to practice yoga daily. Currently I am using option A, which involves an easy time for practice. If A doesn’t work, there is option B which is at an ungodly hour. Praying for A to work out. Either way, I am reclaiming the path.
Yesterday I taught a group of teacher training students on the subject of personal practice. I feel specially qualified for this topic because I have been working with the ups and downs and mental acrobatics of the subject since yoga entered my life 21 years ago.
The subject matter ranged from history to the whys and wheres of practice, and included a good amount of discussion of the obstacles (antaraya) to practice.
From YS 1.30:
dissipation (of resolve or energy)
false vision/false understanding/wandering off track
failure to progress
….are the distraction of consciousness. Yes, ancient yogis living in hermitage dealt with the same distractions we deal with now.
I have an observation: I don’t see “current dharma as mother” in that list…
On this one point, the main yoga texts (Pradipika, Bhagavad Gita, YS) are very clear that the yoga texts were written for non-house holding males.
Yet, since Yoga has the power to transform the way human beings think, relate to the world and each other, the way we see ourselves (read: YOGA HAS THE POWER TO SAVE THE WORLD) why would it be limited to a select group of men? And since history holds that yoga was in fact so limited, and since the world is not saved, I conclude that yoga needed to morph into what it is today: practice for us all. West, East, all. The very roots of yoga, before constriction into a practice for only men in hermitage/forest/caves, are divine. Hiranyagarbha.
We are all in this together. I am going to practice (compassion, a huge portion these days of my mental space during practice).