This morning I was scrolling through instagram, picture after picture of the perfect asana, the perfect yogi, the perfect world. It can really suck you into the perfection trap when even the imperfect pictures are perfectly poised, timed and delivered to create the emotion of “I need to be doing”. What if, what we’re meant to be doing, is BEing? What would our world look like if we let ourselves receive the full sensory intake of each moment for the experience that it IS.
My home practice has suffered tremendously. I’ve got a million reasons why I don’t love it, and why I’m forcing myself to do it. This morning I realized, as the warm breath of my dog hit my face in opening pose, that I've been missing these moments because my preferences are SO LOUD. I haven’t reveled in the warmth and connection that my dog was offering me. I haven’t noticed how soft her hair is when she rolls into my neck, rolling in love, and the closeness of me being on the ground with her. What a treat for her to be able to share this view with me. To be able to access me like she would her pack. I've been experiencing this as an annoyance because my preference was a STUDIO. Not just any studio - a dimly lit studio, candle light burning in a warm room, soft music playing. In the space before the teacher arrives, before we start moving, there was always a moment of REAL connection back to me. And, thats the reason I fell in love with this practice. I fell in love with these moments of connection where I was ENVIRONMENTALLY supported to go INWARD.
I was missing the whole teaching. The environment is RIGHT HERE. It‘s happening within me, not around me. My preferences were disabling me from being totally present. I had the dialogue of the past and I couldn't see the now.
Today’s practice, I decided to welcome the love, the warmth, the breath, the hair. The interruptions by my partner asking about Telus, the shaking legs and unstable ground from practicing on carpet. And, today, I finally felt it. I felt the connection I’ve been suffering for. It was right here with me. I just let the context of the past dampen my experience RIGHT NOW.
The true teacher shows up when you want to leave. That is the real teacher.
The teacher that is with you as you watch yourself navigate the discomfort. The teacher that gently asks you to look at what is really there. She is beside you when you want to leave, and asks you to stay. She is the guide that brings you home back to yourself, and away from your past conditioning, the old stories of the pathways that are so groomed, easily accessible through any season - happiness, sadness, desperation, depression, celebration. Those paths are always there offering a way back to how you USED to be. The one that leads you to who you’re becoming isn’t so obvious. It isn’t as well worn. It takes a bit of looking, and it takes a bit of staying. Staying when you want to leave, and looking when you want distraction. This is the teacher of what we’re searching for. She comes a price, your habits. She comes at a cost, your comfort. But what she brings you in return is something that can never be put into words. It’s the welcoming of change, the observance of growth, the ability to override instinct and come back to intuition.
This is the unweaving of your patterned conditioning. In every practice, when you want to leave - stay. Let the true teacher arrive.