I have just 3 things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.
~Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher, 6th century BC
Isn't this a beautiful thing? Just reading those three words makes me sigh deeply and sweetly. Oooh, I love the idea of living through these three concepts. In each moment of my day. On and off my yoga mat.
Imagine, a simpler life. It IS within our grasp, if we truly want it. I can simplify my schedule. I can choose to simplify my social schedule. I can simplify my thought life. I can simplify my yoga practice. Recently, I've gone to a couple of classes where there are complicated, sexy, twisty poses. And to be honest with you, some of them I can't do. And I find myself feeling insecure, and hear my inner talk getting self-critical. Right now my practice is quite simple. The classes I teach are quite simple. I truly believe that simple can bring wonderful, deep experiences of joy and calmness. But when I'm exposed to complicated, twisty, complex poses, and they look like fun, and I can't do them, I decide I must therefore be a failure. Hmmm. Maybe I'll try to bring myself back to being ok with simplicity.
Patience is perhaps my biggest challenge in life :) I want things done NOW. If things aren't the way I think they should be, I want to act, now. I want others to act, now. I go crazy when I have to wait. Whoooo, even writing that, I get all spinny and anxious inside. See, in my mind, I have figured out what my best life will look like. And I figure it should all happen right now, please and thank you very much. (oooh, I've learned to giggle at the thoughts in my mind :)) So one of my lessons in this life, I am quite sure, is to learn to wait. To be patient. Patience till the next bus comes. Patience till the man of my dreams comes :) Patience with others, when they're doing what they want to do, and not what I want them to do. Patience with myself, when I'm not quite all I want to be. On the mat, I tend to get impatient with myself, my body - I get impatient with myself, that I can't go from low plank to upward dog yet. Or I get impatient, when a teacher asks us to hold a pose and I want to move, to change, to act :) Ahhh, patience... such a gift.... I choose to let that grow and develop in me :)
The delightful trait of compassion is a gift you can't miss, when you've had it extended it to you. I hope you can take a moment to remember when someone showed you compassion. Remember it, feel it again. so warm, and lovely, and loving. The first person we all need to show compassion to, is ourselves, I believe. When we stop to listen to the thoughts that race in our minds, they are often very unkind, uncompassionate thoughts toward ourselves. With angry thoughts spewing at ourselves, how can we show compassion to others? It's that old adage, you can't give what you don't have. So take time to challenge those unkind thoughts toward yourself, and have gentle compassion for yourself. You are absolutely doing the best you can with what you have. And then, let that softness and compassion flow to others around you. Compassion for the people in your family. Compassion for the homeless guy you walk past every day. Compassion for the guy in the car that just cut you off. Compassion for the telemarketers who call you on Saturday morning (am I going to far?!?) The truth is, we are all doing the best we can, with what we have. So why not soften toward ourselves and each others? And to bring it back to the mat, show compassion to yourself, as you are in your poses. Compassion to your body. Yesterday I participated in a class, and it was a wonderful class with a wonderful teacher. But I pushed myself, too far in a pose my body wasn't ready for, and now my hip really hurts. That wasn't very kind toward myself. I knew, in the moment, that my body wasn't ready for what I was asking it to do, but I pushed forward, without compassion, and now I'm in pain. Hmmm. Lack of compassion causes pain. To me. To others. Hmmm.
So. Simplicity. Patience. Compassion. These three are the greatest treasures. I think I believe it!
Have a lovely weekend, and I wish you more simplicity, sweet patience, and overflowing compassion for yourself and those around you.