Dare to get naked!


Heart firstAfter a recent teaching trip to Bahrain & Saudi Arabia, I’m once again floored by the profundity of this practice – Yoga.

To think that I was ‘teaching’ would be arrogant to say the least, because I learned soooo much. The same sequence, the same topic for philosophy, the same playlist for dance, never actually is. Every group, every day, every moment is so unique and unpredictable as to be both terrifying and absolutely fantastic.

The more I learn, the more I realise how little I truly know. This too is both a scary and wonderful realisation. Sometimes (often) it makes me want to walk away… to find a safer, more predictable profession. I fantasize about never again having to feel so confronted, so stretched… so utterly at the edge of my own understanding that the only way through is to surrender to the Great Abyss of Not Knowing, as I sit and wait for grace to save me… or not.

What I discovered though recently, in a super synchronous conversation with a beautiful Bahraini political scientist and lecturer, is that her profession is like that too! Political science is a study of humanity, and humans are downright mysterious. Even more than the subject matter is the fact that teaching itself requires 2 or more people to come together to communicate, question, clarify and hopefully resolve something – it’s live and unscripted (despite maybe having some notes), fluid and very very magical.

You never know what’s going to happen next.

Just like life.

The fruit of this is insight. It’s only because we come together, to see and know through the mirror of this relating, that we really start to learn. I think I know something but as I try to verbalise it I see where my reasoning is flawed. Or the opposite is more often true. I start to speak, and in that very moment, I see a link between two seemingly disparate thoughts, or teachings, or systems, like the gossamer strands of a spider’s web joining the many back to the One.

Everything all of a sudden finds it’s perfect place in the Great Tapestry of Life. In a nutshell, all is reduced to essence, and as such nothing is separate from anything else. I’m being taught this even as I appear to be teaching you.

For this I feel so very grateful – it’s what keeps the practice and teaching fresh, and ‘me’ on my knees where I belong.

As teachers and students, I sense our task is less about acquiring more knowledge than letting the invalid go. Teachings, tenets, concepts, anything (no matter how yogic) that fails to align with the Reality of the moment, is keeping us separate from Yoga.

No matter what I read, or how trustworthy the source, there is always an exception to the rule. There’s always someone or something that doesn’t quite fit with the description or categorization.

This is worrying – there’s really very little to hold on to, as hard as we might try. And liberating – there’s really very little to hold on to, so we might as well let it all go.

If I really don’t know, then I just need to say so. The honesty of this can be just as touching to a ‘student’ as having all the right answers. The emptiness of not knowing is just begging to be filled with guidance or insight at just the right time. A good sense of humour goes a long way too, in the challenge not to take ourselves too seriously (I am so often guilty of this!!).

So let’s jump up and down, and shake out our shoulders. Make weird brrrooooming noises as we relax our jaws and lips. Let’s agree to catch ourselves when we start to sound corny and fake, or get a bit too enamoured with our perfect Yogic image in the mirror.

Let’s dare to let go of our need for validation – and free ourselves up for spontaneous action. Let’s dare to trust completely in the promptings of inner guidance, even and especially if that happens to clash with the philosophy that we have hitherto held so dear. Let’s dare to awaken ourselves and each other as we get free of all that we’re not!

The theories and teachings, as precious as they are, are only the finger that points to the moon. The moon, it seems, I must find myself, and it looks like the way begins here at my heart.

“Rules are for the obedience of fools, and the guidance of wise men” ~ Douglas Bader

Om Namo Narayani!