Letting Go. The art of letting go, the art of surrender. Humility. These are words and phrases that get bandied around so much in the Yoga world. The workaholic in me always suspected that ‘undoing’ was a cop-out. Paying people to tell you that all you need to do is nothing and the truth is there. A whiff of smugness is often all it takes to make me go off on one. Especially when the perceived smugness emanates from one of those men who wear their hair in a wanky little ‘Buddha Bun’. Clearly I have work to do.
It goes much deeper though. The words themselves are not in any way indicative of what is really available to us when we let go. We are always super keen to let go of worries, fired up with enthusiasm to let go of what we see as vices, especially if it makes us look better or gets us in with the right crowd. Letting go of everything, everything is much more fun.
I often write about how I struggle with my Ashtanga practice at times. Mostly its a joy but sometimes, in my eighth year of practice now, I feel like I should be more advanced than I am. Which is ridiculous really, when you think about it. After all if the biggest challenge in your life is pulling off the perfect Yoga asana then you are truly blessed. Other people on the planet can’t feed their children.
So, my story is this, on Monday night I had a bit of a late night. And I make no apologies for there being gin involved. And as I am something of a reformed hedonist I’m not so used to being ill these days. 3 days of feeling heavy, tired (exhausted) and toxic. I felt like I should do some practice Thursday but didn’t want to and told myself it would come when I felt better. Then I changed my mind as I realized I only wanted to practice when I was light and clear and thats a mistake. Like being in a relationship with someone and only loving them when they are in a good mood, when they make you feel good which is shallow rubbish. So I put my Yoga stuff on, and yes my ego made me put a cloth over the mirror because I didn’t feel so great. Then my inner voice told me it doesn’t matter. Its the practice that matters, not how you appear. I decided to let go of the crappy feelings. I let go of the guilt and recriminations. And I just got on with it. And though I wasn’t so energetic as normal my body felt so soft and the practice flowed. It felt gentle. It felt as if I was no longer trying to impose my own strength on the sequence but there was strength already there to be tapped into, like being on a Prana drip… And I also realized that when you stop telling yourself you cannot do things you often can. And realised that my practice flows when I just do and stop thinking about that mythical day when I will wake up and know exactly what to do. And its the same for everyone.
As above so below- there comes a point where you have to stop finding reasons why you can’t do something and just get on with it. The scary thing is that you often don’t realise you’re doing it. It is all about surrender and letting go. We, for whatever reasons always want to construct a story for ourselves. And our ego-stories, our personal mythologies are not necessarily useful. I know that for a long time I saw myself as a real loner who would stay away from others just to practice. But still the same feelings would periodically come up, the same fears, the fatigue of getting involved with anything. But its only tiring when you take your ego into it, that sense of wanting events to furnish you with a sense of identity.
We can’t avoid relationships. But your relationship doesn’t have to be romantic. It can be with the world at large. It can be with a person or the family you create. It can be with your practice. It can be all of them. I was thinking about love and how if you break it down it is the spark of divinity you perceive in someone or something and when what surrounds it just happens to meld in with your own structure, your true self’s own human coating. We are nothing without relationships. But to experience them to their zenith we have to let go. We have to jump into the unknown as you can never know or control the other. And anything could happen. And letting go means your own stuff is always going to float to the surface and you will have to acknowledge it. Observe it as it comes out for a last burning display in the flames of your transformation. If you are practicing Yoga for a performance sport or started out that way you’ll never really make progress until you let go of you and love it for its own sake, no matter what your feelings are that day. Same with all relationships, if you are in them for what you can get you’ll never really know love. And all those books on relationships, that is, how to repackage and manipulate, they are rubbish. Miss the point.
Let go of fear and let go of frustration. Just get on with the work. Be present. And thats when change comes in, and it doesn’t have to take years either. It can be very quick. One toxic moment brought me to a whole new level of practice and now I feel like a traveller who doesn’t need a rucksack. Its going to be OK I think.
Blessed be x