Tuesday, June 05, 2012

This Is How We Love Each Other

This Is How We Love Each Other

Line 20 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra reads:

sraddha (faith) virya (energy/strength) smrti (memory) samadhirpajna (integration) purvaka (something preceded by)

Continuity of practice. This is how we love each other. We fail again and again because we can’t love each other unconditionally. We slip, we fall back and forget. But because of our practice, we’re not hard on ourselves. We fail, and our failures are ok. They can also be embraced with space and curiosity.

When difficult feelings surface perhaps you can begin to trust that your practice can take care of what is arising, of what is happening in your life. This faith (sraddha) gives you enthusiasm for this practice, though too much enthusiasm is not the best quality either. You know how you go to parties sometimes and there’s someone demonstrating yoga poses? You don’t need to become that person. Or there’s the person who comes to the sit for the first time, and the next week they arrive with their family in tow.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village is a retreat destination each year for a particular couple, though the woman is not keen to go. The husband says to Thich Nhat Hanh, “My wife doesn’t like being here.” He replies, “I can tell.” The husband continues, “She just wants to be on a beach for her vacation.” Thich Nhat Hanh replies, “I think you should go to the beach.”

When there’s energy and enthusiasm (virya) in your practice you can practice smrti (memory) – to remember what’s important. And together energy, enthusiasm and memory give rise to samadhi: the connective tissue of integration. These five movements are circular. All of this you can watch through your breathing, and through your relations with others.

~ excerpt from How We Love Each Other

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