Monday, March 31, 2008

Warrior: Right Effort, part 1

Related to the idea of "being grounded" and to "fierceness" is this idea of effort.

There are plenty of stiff days when I'm forced to think of this idea of effort on my first forward bend. Heck, there are days when just getting out of bed takes effort, right?

And the warrior poses, because of their relative simplicity, give us a chance to explore the various textures of effort we can bring to our practice, our everyday lives and even getting out of bed.

"Effort" traditions:

In Ashtanga Yoga, the idea of effort is embodied in the first two limbs of Patanjali's 8 fold path--Yama and Niyama can be roughly understood as: effort and relaxation. This also corresponds to the 6th step in the Buddhist "Noble Eight Fold Path," "right effort." While Pantanjali takes a more restrictive and arguably more ascetic approach than the Buddha's "Noble 8 fold path," the basic idea is the same: do things that create a life conducive to a experiencing fulfillment: a peaceful, non-violent, healthy mind and body.

Or as the great Dorje Dradul of Mukpo described it:

"The sudden flash is a key to all Buddhist meditation, from the level of basic mindfulness to the highest levels of tantra. But it is not enough just to hope that a flash will come to us; there must be a background of discipline."

In other words, you won't find instant enlightenment for sale at the bookstore or at those expensive spiritual retreats. If you want to experience the peace, health, stillness, and special insight of the present moment, available through yoga, you have to make the effort to create the right conditions for it.

But while these paths usually deal with WHAT we should be directing our effort to, in order to create those conditions, I'm interested in HOW we exert that effort. As it turns out, it seems that the "WHAT": and the "HOW" might be the same thing....

I'll explore more on effort in part 2....

No comments:

!-- Site Meter -->