About 15 to 20 years years ago I had the immense pleasure of doing a yoga teacher training at the Kripalu Institute of Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. It was in the days back when the school was already famous and well known yet still relatively small. I treasure the good memories I have. Silence breakfast; very tasty vegetarian food, a stunning lake at the foot of the evenly stunning gardens, with canoes lying on the shoreline to disappear into the wild. And then of course there were the many many skilled teachers and courses passing on profound information.
One of the teachers was Stephen Cope, a psychotherapist who coupled psychotherapy and the quest of finding the true self- (Nan Yar- Who Am I ) the basic question of Yoga philosophy, Nan Yar- Who Am I) to Yoga and…. Meditation.
I remember one story quite specifically because I felt it was hilarious and at the same time so very very very true. It involves a small group of students being taught by Stephen how to meditate. All were sitting in a semi circle; eyes closed, legs folded, trunks resting and rising from the pelvic floor, in connected to the earth; spines and necks nicely straight and stretched, the crowns of their heads pointed towards the Universe; shoulders relaxed hanging off the centre of their sockets, neither leaning too much forward nor stretched too far backward; all in all the puurrrfect position to sink into the oblivion of meditation, to cleanse the ever busy mind and find that place of wonder and revelation within, where we can be at ease with ourselves.
One student however felt terribly restless. His folded legs were hurting; all sorts of emotions were knocking at his consciousness and troubled thoughts were disturbing his quest to be mindful. Through his eye-lashes he peeked around in the room and observed the others sitting in precision buddha pose some with smiles on their faces some looking extremely serious and concentrated, some even with a soft satisfied glow ‘Why, o. why, this one particular student wondered ‘Where is everybody? Where are they that I cannot find. How did they get to where I apparently cannot go?
After the meditation session all students gathered around to sit and share their experiences , guided by Stephen Cope. The unhappy student was the first to share his feelings of misery and confess he was jealous of all the others who seemed to float seamlessly into their meditations.
Now it was the other student’s turn to get restless. Some confessed they ware just closing their eyes and took on the pose they thought they were was expected to take. They shared how their thoughts were bouncing around, tumbling all over each other and how inadequate that made them feel. Stephen always shared this anecdote in his teachings; an early advocate of confessing and showing vulnerability.
To this day I think it is a wonderful metaphor for daily life; where we often keep up with the Jones’s by taking the position we think is expected of us while within, our true self is crying out for help. Something to keep in mind next time when you try and meet set expectations and ask yourself whether this is really you.
The card that goes with this this is the Knight of Challenges.
Challenges as this Suit personifies the development of the I-consciousness which has everything to do with becoming aware of who you really are and what your role in this life is meant to be;
the Knight, as this is your personal protector and explorer of who you are; the guide of your soul purpose.
To read more, click the card.
You can also draw your own card at the right side of this blog
Wishing you an insightful time
The abridged spoken version of this spoken blog, features as end note on ‘Dutchbuzz’, the radio hour for Internationals every Tuesday from 10 to 11 pm on ‘Den Haag FM’ and can be found in the Programme Archive of the Dutchbuzz podcasts, dated February 6 , 2019 or click the link below