or, Happy First Birthday to The Considered Kula!
Tonight I ran into my very first yoga teacher in the grocery store. It reminded me to write this post, based on a dream from which I awoke about four minutes before my alarm (at 4:56 am) on Valentine’s Day. This meeting is auspicious because this blog is one year old today, and tomorrow I start the second module of the Anusara immersion.
In my dream, I had been sitting during one of the immersions with this teacher, which is very unlikely, because she’s not even an Anusara instructor, and I haven’t studied with her in over five years, when I was a beginner.
A question came up during the immersion about one of the goddesses, and my teacher was leafing very rapidly through the teacher training manuals to find it. I thought I had taken notes on it in my journal, and to help her, started leafing rapidly through that, and she would pause and indicate diagrams, stick figures and XKCD-style cartoons and such, that I had drawn in my journal (the latter of which I have never drawn in my yoga journals in real life).
I couldn’t really find what I was looking for, and then there was this question of a quilt, which I was supposed to be passing around to other students. As I had forgotten, I was detaching its ties from an old green sleeping bag we have here at home. (No clue what that’s about. I know, right?)
Some of the dream spilled into my waking consciousness, and a voice said “As So-and-So said (I was in my happy place and didn’t catch the name), ‘Teaching is a splendid awakening.‘”
My line about pursuing the teaching of yoga has been that I would finish the immersions and go through a period of discernment to see if I would complete the teacher training. I think this is my message to myself to quit that fiction and just go for it.
I have been back at teaching sociology for just slightly longer than I have been a student of yoga. I suppose I’ve come to appreciate that teaching is not just a privilege or a duty, not just service, not just an art form, not just something really hard for which to prepare, not just a joy. It is a splendid awakening.
That awakening will be some ride. This week I have misjudged situations, and today I have come down with a cold (since I have practiced yoga, I rarely get sick), and had a fender–bender in the pouring rain in the school parking lot. I thought “Alright, I’m awake already!” But as I was leaving school this evening, I saw the slimmest sliver of the crescent moon above the treetops.
This reminds me of Shiva, and I have read that this ornament signifies his control over time. I have been writing others, journaling, and blogging about time. And now this today. Writing perhaps obliquely about the Anusara evolution, Douglas Brooks offers a reflection in Elephant Journal, “This Could Take Some Time.”
Without traditions we reinvent the wheel; with them, we get to change the wheel. The closer we get to the sources, the more we realize our part in creating rather than merely adopting traditions. That too takes time. It’s about our commitment to our selves. What’s at stake is how we decide to learn, to evolve, to participate with time.
My teacher called this process “the fullness of time.” He meant that we create a powerful vision for the future when we have done the work of looking through the processes of history, receiving from the past rather than living in the past. Sometimes we discover less than we hoped to find; sometimes there is more than we could have dreamt possible. But look we must with eyes as wide open as our hearts.
For each of us our own past must play a critical role in our evolution even as we learn from the critical process that invokes tradition as ligature of contiguous consciousness. Remaking yourself in every moment—being here only now—may sound swell, but it’s one short step from senility.
Feeling called to this splendid awakening is anything but fluffy. When the wild geese announce your place in the family of things it could mean rototilling one’s cherished conceptions of self. That’s pretty risky. It’s seeing the mountain but not the path. Here goes, dear reader. As my first Anusara teacher still says, “Buckle up!”