Sunday, September 09, 2007

"The Art of Living"

Today I made the long trek from Matathirta into the city to change some money, pick up some supplies and check my e-mail. Not a lot has happened in my world for the past week - which is a good thing.

I now live in in a quiet, rural area where my days include about 3 hours of yoga, and hour or so of meditation, and nightly singing/chanting with my instructors and local musicians. The slow pace of life suits these pursuits!

I am also, interestingly, on a vegetarian diet for the first time in my life. The past 6 days have been purely Nepali, and, despite my initial concerns, this has been great! I love the food everyday, and I am not missing meat or eggs. In fact, a glass of Yak milk this morning made me feel sick - which could be because it was Yak milk (!) or because my body has quickly acclimatized to the vegetarian diet.

"The Art of Living"
I am also reading a fair amount, and am now in the middle of a book is the first I think I have ever found that is speaking to me like I imagine the bible speaks to a true Christian or the Koran to a devoted Muslim.

I read sentence by sentence and think "Yes, that applies to my life and I want to implement that in my daily existence". It is called "The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation" by William Hart.

So this provides a new direction, so to speak, and imbues my yoga practice with new meaning: I want to be flexible enough and focused enough to sit and concentrate for the time required to embark on the practice of this form of meditation. I knwo I can begin at anytime with the body and mind I have, but am doing yoga now and want to maintain my focus on this practice before attempting to build on a partial foundation.

[Addendum (Sept 13): Ok, I have have overstated the religiousity of the impact of this book on me - it strikes me in retrospect that this is sounds like exactly what Carolyn was so concerned about, making it sound like i am planning to join a cult. For those who know of Vipassana, you know this is not the case, for those who do not, I urge you to Google it. The bottom line is that I want to implement this practice in my life.]

Slow Going
And that is slow going. In my doubting moments I give into the frustration that my body seems to be a pure manifestation of: tight, inflexible hips and hamstrings that are yielding almost imperceptibly to the practices I am following; weak ankles that limit greatly what postures I can even begin to practice; a lower back that screams resistance to seated asanas and seems unlikely to yield, though I know it will if I continue mindful and patient practice.

But regardless of goals or directions I remain completely at peace with what I am doing. I am not doubting or debating the wisdom or appropriateness of what I have embarked on. I know I have repeated this numerous time on this page so far, but belabour the point because in my life I have been sure of few things to this degree.

I do, however, also spend time thinking about the future outside of my yoga practice - where to go after Nepal and what profession to return to or embark on. All I can say for now is that I have lots of ideas ranging from safe and boring to pipe dreams that seem unrealistic.

Stay tuned for further updates....

1 comment:

DreamQueen said...

Yak milk! That sounds like a bad idea all around. Glad to hear you're enjoying vegetarian Nepali food - you'll have to send me some ideas/recipes!