Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No waiting

yoga seated positionI had a yoga teacher, Peter, who often shared beautiful wisdom with us that spoke truly to my heart. I was grateful for the many things I learned from him during the short time that I was his student.

One of the lessons that has had a strong influence in my approach to things was about waiting. Waiting is an activity, an active stance, a verb; to actively expect something to happen. It’s looking ahead to some future event, to anticipate the next thing. Sometimes we worry while waiting, sometimes waiting takes too long. Waiting isn’t the same as being fully in the present.

There are times when we need to wait. But instead of looking ahead and missing the present moment, we can choose to be fully present to right now and instead of waiting, we can just sit and Be. As Peter put it:

Be … and the next thing will happen.

Whether we anticipate and wait, or sit and Be, either way, the next thing will happen.

In yoga class, there’s a general pattern that’s followed and it’s easy to anticipate the next thing. A Warrior II is often followed by an extended side angle stretch, for example, or a floor asana on the back might be followed by a spinal twist.

In Peter’s class, initially, I would be working a pose and anticipating the next pose he would call out. I’d be thinking “OK, we’ll be moving to [pose x] next …” instead of fully experiencing the current pose that I was working. Peter wouldn’t shift into the next pose, though, we’d hold and hold and hold the pose, my legs and arms quivering, Peter encouraging us to experience all that was present to us right now in THIS pose: turn out the thigh, tighten the underarm muscles, lengthen the spine… all the myriad tiny little adjustments that can be made to perfect a pose. I soon forgot about the next pose and let myself melt into the work of the present moment.

This teaching has totally shifted my inner peace when I’m waiting now. By learning to be fully in the present moment, I can experience it more completely--the sights, sounds, sensations. I don’t look ahead of where I am right now and anticipate the next thing. I enjoy where I am in the present moment.

I can simply Be … and the next thing will happen.



Debra She Who Seeks said...

Very wise! It's an especially useful practice when stuck in traffic.

Cindy said...

Be...and the next thing will happen. Not a lot of people will understand that. I want to live like that...besides understand it.

Becky said...

How profound.

E. Charlotte said...

Oh! Very wise indeed! I have been trying to be more in the moment lately actually. Really pay attention to the here and now, whereve I may be, or whatever I am doing.

Your yoga instructor sounds like a great mentor. :)

(Also, I really enjoyed Huntington Beach when I visited with my Mom! What a beatiful place!)

Laura said...

I love this post Rose. And I can say from plenty of experience that the life asana of sitting and being in the stillness is indeed a different asana than that of waiting.

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Debra - So true! When stuck in traffic, you can either get angry and agitated or turn on the radio and sing. Either way, you're still in traffic - lol!

Cindy - It took me some meditation time to really absorb this, and I'm still opening up to it.

Becky - I think so, too.

E. Charlotte - Being mindful of the moment - especially for a young person like yourself - can be so rewarding. Glad you enjoyed my town!

Dear Laura - You are such a great teacher in sharing all that you're learning. You help bring me back to my center. Thank you.

TechGoddess said...

Having followed 18-years of experience & watching with two months of waiting, I recognize choosing to "Be" would have been more constructive, but so very difficult in practice (especially when combined with "worry" and "anticipation").

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

TG - I hear ya! Learning to Be - especially when it comes to those we love - is challenging, difficult and not necessarily in our human nature. Been there in very difficult circumstances and learned one of the most important - and lord above! - one of the most difficult lessons of my life.