Enlightenment through self mastery is seemingly daunting. You flutter from fleeting glimpse, to fleeting glimpse of unbounded joy and freedom after diligent practice. The clock indicated that I needed to guide the class out of meditation. I slowly and quietly welcomed the class back and we closed with the traditional Namaste. I reflected on the meaning of Namaste as my hands joined and I bowed my head. It means that the good in me recognizes and honors that which binds us together, the good in you. (aka the source) It is a recognition of unity and your universal responsibility to do good.
Chances are this was just a tiny step for my students and myself in a long journey to realize what units us. I highly doubt anyone left that class with a deep sense of enlightenment! For me the conclusion of class was simply business as usual.
To be fair, there is a sense of lightheartedness you experience after a yoga practice; we lovingly named the Yoga Buzz. It is more superficial and not lasting. The yoga buzz is a scratch on the surface of the path to enlightenment. Its importance lies in its ability to show you where you are resisting your natural state, perfect unbounded joy.
My husband and I said goodbye to Ellie the sweet desk girl and walked out the door towards our little black Toyota Corolla. It was late spring and the weather could not be more pleasant. The sun warmed our bones but did not burn the skin. Jason, my ever courteous husband opened the passenger door for me then went to the drivers side and got in. We always listen to classical on yoga days. I love classical music. The harmony and melody is inspiring and calming simultaneously, an experience that is precious and rare.
Have you ever noticed how distracted you are by your mind when you are on one of your familiar drives? The kind of drive you do constantly. As soon as you start the car you check out from the world around you and into your own head. I drive up and down the street we were on constantly. In my own head on that street I hide, and plan, or remember. But after yoga, teaching or practicing, I feel a fantastic ability to pay attention. I stared out my window as we passed the park. I saw kids running around and birds congregating on the newly filled pond. The spring melts the sparkly white snow in the nearby mountains and it flows through our city until it rests in that park. Then it slips back into the little creek that runs above and below our city.
We drove by a beggar and my thoughts slipped away from the moment to try to make sense of his homelessness. Dang beggars! I thought as we passed. OK I did not really think that but what usually happens when I pass someone pan handling is a whole lot of thinking. I have almost a selection process where I wonder if that person makes more money than me or some other similar judgment. Then if I still feel compelled, I go give them food.
Suddenly it was no longer an ordinary day. I felt drawn back to the person I saw pan handling. I looked at Jason and unanimously we made a decision non verbally. Jason pulled over at the next gas station. What was most strange about the whole situation is that it was unconscious. This action came from pure doing. We were not thinking, analyzing, or creating.
We entered the gas station and the cool air conditioner brushed my skin. We continued without a plan and subconsciously grabbed a package of almonds, a water, and a banana to purchase. After that we re entered the car and circled the block until we again came upon the man. He had long brown hair and a skinny figure. His clothes looked decent enough but he did have a saddened and scared air about him. As we stepped out of the car and walked toward him we again felt a since of magnetism.
We handed him the simple meal and then it happened. Our eyes met and I could see his soul and my soul within his precious yet neglected eyes. I felt spacious and peaceful, and knew in that moment that we are connected by something so much bigger than our self’s. I knew that only selfless service can show us this side of our nature. This was the most authentic and lasting expression of Namaste I have ever experienced. Commit selfless acts of service. When your soul opens up you will experience complete satisfaction, spaciousness, and peace. In that moment I felt life’s purpose. This man needed to be fed. Complete relief flushed from his now sparkling eyes. I believe that a person's virtue can only be cultivated by how they treat people around them. Help people, be nice to people, cherish their humanity and you will discover your own.
A True story By Sarah Hurwitz