Thank you, avidya

Sometimes during my yoga practice I find places of myself where it is really difficult to dig in.

A few weeks ago, for example, due to this great pain in my left hip I tackled my practice of asanas from anger and pride. It bothered me a lot not to “dispose” of my body as I usually do. It bothered me not understanding what was happening but especially bothered me realize that this discomfort was the answer to a work poorly done, which rubbed on my face my lack of concentration.

For the later four or five days I approached the practice from this locked and dark place -that’s how I imagine the rage- inside me.

I fell and got hurt, any excuse to stop my practice was useful until after a few days of fighting, I realized that my anger spoke of my lack of concentration but, above all, my anger was a symbol of my ignorance/avidyā.

This ignorance went through every aspect of my being. In physical terms there was something real: a movement that I did not understand correctly or an action that I could not maintain. Mentally, I forgot that this had happened to me before, I forgot that I “learnt” that the yoga practice is not undeviating, a lot of times we need to go back to advance. I felt emotionally blocked, frustrated, because my idea of “progress” in practice it was not possible due to pain. The anger came over me and, well, the anger cannot be more than a form of ignorance. Spiritually I was ignoring the opportunity I had to deepen my practice, an opportunity to grow.

Until it was over.

Some days later I approached the practice from compassion/ karuna, moving myself away from proud, saying to myself: Ok, maybe there is something here for my spirit, maybe the pain wants to show me something.

And I began to observe it. I practiced for a few days just watching what was happening, leaving aside my ideals and understanding that reality was asking for other things. Things I wasn´t seeing. 
And the pain disappeared.

I know it´s not always like this. I know when we´re actually injured the pain does not disappear so easily, however I think my hip was saying something that obviously went beyond my physical body.

A month ago I landed in a completely new place, after leaving it “all” behind. A part of me really wanted to feel comfortable as quickly as possible and from that space begin to move forward. A part of me wanted to have “control” in this situation: I was in a new country with a completely different language and environment, new friends, food, a new lifestyle, new schedules, etc. Suddenly, I understood and saw this part of me that I like to forget: I found my proud, obsessive and mental part, the part that wants to have control over everything.
 And I liked what I saw.

I feel grateful of my ignorance and my lack of attention. Thanks to them I find the opportunities, once and again to learn in my life. I feel that I have to say I’d like to be different – yes, I would love to be more aware and learn to be a better person-but, at the same time, I think of the universe as a sacred place and I get excited when I realize that, thanks to those “imperfections” my yoga practice is a place of self-knowledge and inner exploration. A place where there are sometimes bright and sometimes dark areas. A place where I, liking it or not, find everything I am.

by Bjarne Salén

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