Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From Liz: Soft Focus.

The Yoga Bear work is going well enough. I'm in charge of soliciting donations from studios in NYC and environs. I send a friendly little note, asking for class pass or membership. Some studios jump right on board, others just blithely ignore me. You win some, you lose some. I'm a little surprised by those that just look the other way, like I'm some panhandler on the subway. I'm not asking for much, and it would actually be to the studio's benefit to get more people in their doors--a good way to build up some good will in the community. But hey, I guess this is NY and people are Very Busy and Important, right? I just have to ease up around my expectations.

This brings me around to my Work of the Week: softening. I've discovered that I'm a gripper. Physically and emotionally. Gil Fronsdal has a series of talks on concentration. And at one point, he says "Hard or willfully concentrating is a losing battle. But to develop samadhi there has to be a softness and gentleness towards oneself... The mind is not a thing, a substance, it's an activity." He speaks of concentration as a living, fluctuating state, a "dynamic stillness" that enables higher states of meditation, etc. I've also heard dristhe spoken of as a resting point for the eyes, rather than a spot to drill your death ray stare into. During practice, I sometimes find myself boring my eyes into a place of focus. Yet when I soften my eyes a touch, I see so much more. I breathe easier. It's a state of rest, safety, peace. So rather than try to harden around concentration, or stiffen my will to the sticking point, I'm working on settling in, like I would in Savasana: aware, receptive, but at ease. This stuff is work, experienced meditators are hardcore. I feel like I did when I tried Bakasana for the first time: "you want me to what now?"

And it terms of asana: Jump backs are happening more readily. I've just given over to committing to the moment. There has been some mechanical tweaking, but mostly it gets down to just turning off of the brain chatter and surrendering to the action (ties nicely to Work of the Week, right?).

I'm off.
How is teaching this Spring?

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