It’s a sunny day and the light is beaming through the side bay window hitting me as I do my opening Sun Salutations on my yoga mat. This is a constant feeling for me during my opening morning yoga practice. For in yoga we are told that the word yoga means to “bring together”, or to yoke something. So in this fashion we approach our yoga practice as a type of remedy for the yoking, or bringing together of our body, mind and spirit. As I continue to feel the warmth descend upon me, I realize a yoking of a different nature. The very subtle noticing that when my body temperature rises, my mind tends to follow into the discomfort. This is a simple realization into how our external world can truly effect our focus in terms of a practice, or mediation. As I continued to move through the yogic postures, I realize that not only does my mind gravitate towards the elevation in bodily temperature, but also for each yoga move I find discomfort in. So I contemplated, thinking “Do I do this with each discomfort, in general?”. “I must stop my mind from doing this!” was the next thought that flooded my mind.
Just as those words had time to fade out, the deeper realization hit me: For trying to stop you natural mind from doing what it does naturally, you are doing exactly what you are trying to prevent. You are getting in your own way by continuously jumping to get jumped. There is a Zen story that talks about two monks walking along their way when the student monk steps on a sharp rock barefooted screaming out, “OUCH!”. Thereafter turning to the master monk saying, “My deepest apologies for the outcry, master! For sometimes my mind runs away from me.” Answering, the master monk turned back to him, “Running your mind might, but you wont take flight.” was is response.
There seems to be a constant in my realizations in regards to mind movement. That when we try to stop the natural happenings of our ever so zipping minds, fuel is added to the fire in which we hope to extinguish. The paradox lies there within the practice. For when I’m on the mat, my mind should be involved in the practice. But, if the morning sun is to creep in and involve itself with me on my mat. It becomes not a discomfort, but a light on a deeper practice.