Day 9 – The Royal Path
Yoga Teacher – Micheline Berry
When you travel on a path for many years you become the path. The nature of the path become your nature. This is the reason why change takes so much time. We are aware of higher laws but we become attached to the path and continue on the same road every day. Tomorrow when you get up travel choose a different path. Don’t worry you will not get lost – Sri Vishwanath
The above thought provokes a paradox for anyone who has engaged on any sort of path at all. The attachment to the path. If you get attached to a path how can you make it your own? The word path literally implies that you are following something that is already laid out in front of you. It becomes an interesting notion when you adapt a path that appeals to you and add flourishes to it that are yours alone. The spiritual experience must be personalized, if not then you are following someone else’s dogma. A little dogma is good to get you started but building on it takes time and effort, thus the above statement that indicates “change takes so much time.”
In Chapter 9 we are hovering in what I call the in-between chapters of The Gita where the mysticism reigns supreme and we pay attention to the clear rather sensational instructions Arjuna is receiving. Never forget the context of The Gita – this “song of God” is being told to Arjuna inside of a chariot while sitting on a battlefield ready to engage in war against his own family. Imagine that you are dealing with the most complicated and profound problem that you’ve ever faced in your life and God tells you directly “Whatever you do make it an offering to me – the food you eat, the sacrifices you make, the help you give, even your suffering. In this way you will be free from the bondage of karma and from it’s results both pleasant and painful.” (verses 26-28). Huh? Far out.
The message in this is literally quite simple – see God in everything. In everyone. Always. Twelve step talks a lot about Gods wills vs. Self will and all that sorta inherent polarity that lies with the human condition. Because we are still granted the gift of free will the difference can be blurry. We are free to make our own decisions and to make our own mistakes, surely most wise teachers will tell us that our mistakes are really ingredients for learning. So, even if you are going against the grain of what seems like Gods will is it really Self will?
Rather if you choose to make everyone of your actions focussed on God the pain of the material world will lessen. There have been many times in my life where I’ve felt that this whole “game of life” is a bunk deal. When we take shape in this incarnation at this time we’re dealt a hand of cards that have to be played. We have to get jobs, make money, pay rent, deal with shitty LA traffic (or not), eat healthy food, deal with hurt feelings and so and so on. Our world is no longer built to just wander the plains picking delicious fruit while sitting by the river. Sometimes I don’t want to change my relationship to the game, I want to change the game itself. Tall order and rather delusional but you get my point.
Accepting where we are at and taking action with all of it can be tough. Keeping our focus on healthy beautiful things can be tough.
Again, that is why the practice of yoga works in spite of yourself. Today, at 6 am I really did not want to suit up and show up to sweat at a 7 am class. I was cranky, did not sleep well and full of the usual ramblings of the morning mind. Low and behold 10 minutes into the class it all went away and a rush of gratitude wore over me, almost to the point of astonishment. It amazes me that I can loose site of what’s so simple and beautiful and focus on all the crap that goes on between my ears. This simple practice is a miracle.