“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”
I love this quote by Bruce Lee how he talks about the power of the fluid. To me water is representative of persistence as well.
We show up on our mats every day to do this practice of yoga and we become water. We are present enough to let the practice evolve and we move with it.
We become the surf lapping up against the cliff side, some days we make a lot of progress, other days we may take away just one grain of sand. We just keep showing up on our mat and over time we start to see changes. We are a little kinder, a little softer, sometimes wiser. Often it is so subtle it is barely noticeable, other times we make quantum leaps.
Eventually we carve out a beautiful practice for ourselves. We show up and calmly, mindfully yet relentlessly and passionately practice our yoga. With unyielding consistency and persistence the transformation takes place.
Symptoms of Inner Peace
1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fear
2. A unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
3. Loss of interest in judging others
4. Lack of interest in judging oneself
5. Loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others
6. Loss of interest in conflict
7. Loss of ability to worry
8. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation
9. Feeling connected with others and nature
10. Frequent attacks of smiling for no apparent reason
11.An increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen
12. An increased susceptibility to giving and recieving love
(Wish I knew who wrote this, its so true!)
Update: Saskia Davis is the origanal author of this beautiful piece ©1984 and has honored this blog by letting me post it here. A huge thanks to Saskia Davis and for more amazing works please visit symptomsofinnerpeace.net
One of my students has been nursing a shoulder injury and she modified the poses that needed to be modified without me having to urge her to do so.
To me this is the mark of a seasoned practitioner. She understands that she must take care of herself… and so she does. She understands the difference between giving up and adjusting to take care of herself. (Aha!The key to making life easier!)
Life is a series of adjustments to oneself. Notice I did not say compromising or giving up because that would suggest a weakness of spirit and fortitude or not getting what it is you want. (You should get what you want by the way, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise)
Adjusting to adapt to the different changing pressures, realities and circumstances does not imply a shortcoming at all, in fact, quite the opposite! It shows a marvelous amount of strength, courage and wisdom.
It is interesting to watch how advanced practitioners LOVE hands on adjustments from their teachers. They can’t wait for their teacher to throw a little nugget of wisdom their way. They get excited for an opportunity to adjust their bodies to the reality that is proper alignment.
You see, sometimes a student is less than thrilled with the adjustment. Perhaps I told them to wait on doing a pose that their body was not ready for and they looked at me like the mean person that has just taken their new toy away.
The translation to them perhaps is “You are just not good enough”, “You can’t have it”, or many other self-defeating inner dialogues. They feel personally attacked and resent what feels like an intrusion on my part.
Okay, so maybe that person has been me, or you. Maybe not in the yoga room, but in life. Maybe you are going along one fine day and boom someone or something intrudes upon your reality and ruins your perfectly laid plans. What do you do next?!
Do you fight it with all your might like a salmon swimming upstream? Or, do you make a adjustment?
In some cases adjusting may just save your life!
In the news not long ago there was a story about a hiker who got stuck with his arm trapped behind a rock boulder. Seeing that he could not free his arm he surgically removed his arm with a pocket knife to escape. (Talk about an adjustment!)
Clearly, this is a man who understands the difference between giving up and making an adjustment! He said later when interviewed, that he kept thinking “I choose life”! How incredibly powerful are those words?!
You may have to adjust your path, but it does not mean you are losing sight of the goal. You are in fact making reaching the goal possible!
Choose life, adjust, let go of outdated beliefs systems that no longer serve you. This is the choice of the yogi.