I 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.