Echo From The Cave: 183

Saturday May 14, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Sunday, April 24th 2022

Soul to Soul: The Dynamic Impact of Uninhibited Spirit

For those who have had the opportunity to see Shri Mahayogi’s asana, there is a word that I have often heard used to describe it. And that is, dynamic.

It may seem unusual—how can something so still be so dynamic? What is it anyway that can be dynamic when everything else, body and mind, is brought to stillness?

Not that long ago I finished taking an educational course related to a new field of work. (Read a related writing in Echo From the Cave: 181) As the course finished I wanted to express my gratitude to the instructor—in the process and along with other life circumstances I have been receiving many lessons and learnings, which are truly blessings, and certainly the instructor, as part of it, has had some role to play—so, I wanted to express my “thank you.”

I wanted to be clear though within myself about what exactly I am saying thank you for, because I felt, it’s easy to say thank you just for the sake of saying thank you or to list off the obvious things I can say thank you for, but I felt that if I did that then it would result in a rather casual or generic expression and not capture the real feeling. In other words, I can easily write a fluffy thank you that may possibly sound nice, but is otherwise empty…only covered in fluff. So, as I was reflecting trying to pinpoint what exactly it is I am feeling grateful for, in relation to this particular person and context, I realized that first and foremost, it is the spirit of the person.

Every class and every interaction was filled with the spirit that the instructor was quite naturally bringing, which just happens to feel as if it is packed full of strength and momentum. And I received that spirit coming behind the words, behind the instruction, like a much-needed impetus to throw myself into action and get motivated and moving towards something that seemed so unknown and challenging. And apart from that, the content of the class—the knowledge, skills, guidance etc.—was all naturally laid out on the backdrop of the instructors lived experiences…repeated experiences, learnings gained through experiences, all kinds of varieties of experiences…nothing perfect, but real, honest, and uninhibited. And that helped bring life and depth into the content of the course, even if it wasn’t anything spoken explicitly.

These are the things that I truly feel grateful for, in part because I feel that through the exchange of these more invisible elements, there was more room for the learning experience to expand, but also because in recognizing and experiencing it, it’s helping me to see more clearly something about the importance of what takes place in an interaction or exchange that is beyond what the surface of it can tell. It is like a few more threads are being woven into the fabric of a much bigger picture of what I am learning.

As I continue to reflect, I feel that noticing the importance of the spirit within an interaction is due to having had the chance to meet with Shri Mahayogi and feel this concretely, perhaps in the most heightened way possible. In the presence of Shri Mahayogi, I am sure I am not the only one who tangibly feels that something is happening, something is changing, something is being communicated or given, even when no words are spoken or no action seems to be taken—yet it is just undeniable. The purity of this “Spirit” in Shri Mahayogi feels incomparable. Because of experiencing that through Shri Mahayogi, I am sure that there must be something invisible that happens when we are near and exchange with others, the spirit of our mere presence may impact much beyond our words and actions.

In fact, this is actually something that Shri Mahayogi has spoken about before, that the internal state of a person is much more impactful and important than the words spoken or actions taken. And this is something that I have thought about often since I first heard it. Even so, and even though a number of years have passed since I first heard it, those threads being woven in from my most recent experiences seem to be helping me to catch a few new insights.

To receive the impact of the spirit of someone else feels like a beautiful and precious thing, almost as if it is an expression of that same sacred essence that we learn through Shri Mahayogi and the teachings of Yoga is within all of us, is coming out and coming together, even in one moment’s exchange. And through that I feel that perhaps various things hidden from our view can be suddenly highlighted…thus becoming important ground for learning. Just like I have experienced others giving freely of themselves, in other words putting their real spirit, I want to be able to give more freely of myself too, bringing real spirit into my way of being, more and more. Or perhaps another way to put it is, no matter who the person is, I want to be able to meet in that exchange, full of spirit, without inhibition.

As of now, however, I see that there are various things that cause me to hold this back, making that spirit part become dampened. Some of those things I have already mentioned in previous blog writings (Echo From the Cave: 171, 179, 181), but more often than not I see there are small fears that keep me holding back and holding on, these small fears that cause me to hesitate, to not express clearly, or to confuse my words and actions. All of these stand as obstacles to that spirit uninhibitedly and strongly coming forth. And these are the things I really want to root out…because truly they are all so unnecessary…and, to say it again with more emphasis, I really would like to be able to be, to speak, to act in a way that is freely and uninhibitedly filled with spirit—to share and come together with others with that spirit and not with my mind’s unnecessary obsessions. I am so grateful to have not only the brilliant example of Shri Mahayogi to aim towards, but I am also grateful to experience that from gurubai and from many of the people around me in daily life. It comes in all forms and degrees—and I’m also finding that even to receive it, the mind needs to be getting rid of those very same obstacles and obsessions, as if the spirit put from each one needs be able to catch what’s put from the other. If it misses we may lose the opportunity of the moment, and the learning that can be born of that exchange falls flat.

Recently Karuna has been sharing with us through her example about what she notices are the contents of an active mind, as well as how she has started using some tools of the practice of discrimination to address the active mind, coming from a recent inspiration from another gurubai (Echo From the Cave: 180). I think what Karuna is observing in the active mind helps us to see some other forms of the many activities of the mind that end up resulting in obstacles and obsessions—and these are probably things we can all relate to and identify in ourselves to various degrees. And actually, in Pranavadipa Volume 87 and Vol. 89 there are excellent Testimonies written about the very topic of how to deal with resolving the mind’s many obstacles and obsessions, so there is much inspiration there as well as practical tools for us to reference and use in dealing with the mind’s activities that cause obstructions.

And I’ll say that in my case, at the moment, what seems to be the strongest driving force is the motivation coming from more clearly recognizing the direction I want to head and the importance, value and need that I feel in it, as well as the unnecessary things that seem so obviously necessary to get rid of in order to get there.

I think that, most likely, the impact we may receive from someone’s internal spirit may come from whatever part is not caught up in self-concern, self-consciousness, or in other words, the mind’s obsessions…because that part is more free of the mind’s little self-imposed prison…and I think the more free it is, the more dynamic it can be, can act and can positively impact others, regardless of anything we say or do.

Now, returning to the dynamic quality that people express in seeing Shri Mahayogi perform asana, I think now, perhaps that dynamic part is the Spirit or the Life that is in full force within Shri Mahayogi, nothing at all to cover it up, Pure as Pure can be. Plainly visible in the expression of form, contrasting with the apparent silence and stillness, laid out upon the back drop of the ultimate experience, the experience of Eternal Truth. Perhaps with that dynamic quality, Shri Mahayogi is vibrantly giving us an example of the internal state being 100% aligned with Truth, no obstruction whatsoever—that it can even be felt and can even give impact in the silence and stillness of asana. Perhaps it is an example to help us recollect that within ourselves and to inspire us to purify ourselves so that that dynamic internal spirit—the Spirit of Truth—can be heightened more and more.

For us, in practicing asana, what is the spirit we bring as we practice? How can we heighten it? How can we each work towards getting rid of the unnecessary fears, activities, complaints, holding on, holding back, etc? What would it be like for us as we come together to learn and practice asana, to each bring ourselves full of uninhibited spirit? What learning might open up in that heightened exchange? I don’t have the answers, but I would like for us to find out!


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