My hip or, A way to deal with ignorance.

Kleshas

Yoga practice helps you to rediscover the forgotten link between your mind and body and this, under my experience, always modify the way you see illness and health, pleasure and pain.

When I started my practice, I remember how surprised I was when I heard my teacher saying: If you feel pain, observe it, don´t run away, try to see why that pain appeared in this moment.

During the lasts months I have been feeling some pain in my left hip: it´s a pain that comes and goes, that change and that, sometimes makes me feel angry but, other times, makes me feel compassion for myself.

There are some days where the pain moves me closer to the practice. I know that, after practice I will feel better: the pain diminishes or disappears completely. But, other days, the pain takes me away from the practice because my thinking process is something like: Ok, this pain is the result of my ignorance. There´s something that I´ve been doing wrong all this years so, if I continue practicing there´s a chance for the injury to get bigger.

During those days it´s really difficult to get and sit on my mat without an anger feeling inside me.

But then, the question is:  

Where do you find more ignorance?

Try to do something you love, even if there´s more than once chance that you´re not understanding everything of it?

Or, not do it at all, just because you´re afraid?

Patañjali (II.3) shows us Avidya as the first cause of suffering (kleshas).

When I think about it, my concept of ignorance talks about not-knowing something; ignorance has to be with inexperience.

I think this is an important concept.

It´s impossible to be able to understand something or to feel experienced in a subject since the first moment. And this is really hard to handle for the ego because there´s an awesome sensation when you feel that you´re good at something.

But, being lost, being confused and wrong, feeling inexperienced it´s part of the way, if you want to be able to feel the opposite. In this case, my pain is telling me that there´s something that I need to change; I need to revalue my practice. I have a lot of interpretations for it but, it´s more important to me, to be able to continue my practice more than ever because, when your ego is telling that you don´t need it (and my ego it´s telling me that when I´m angry) probably, it´s when you need it the most.

I´ve have experienced more than once how concepts that at first glance seem opposites, always meet somewhere. I already wrote about the feeling of being a beginner and I did the question if the fool is a fool after all… When you´re empty you´re full of space and, when you feel pain because you did something wrong, you´re learning something. Probably it´s something like this that I read today: “The non-dual reality lies beyond all appearing dual expressions.”

My ignorance it´s making me suffer physic pain but, behind that pain I can see hard work and the passion of doing the thing I love.

I know it´s time to go deeper in my practice (or time to go to the doctor), injuries come to tell you something.

I want to say that I can see the sign behind this pain but, meanwhile I understand the meaning and heal myself, I can do as my teacher thought me: observe my pain, and try to see what´s going to teach me this time.

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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