They say patience is a virtue, but I suppose they never said it would be easy. Ever since teacher training started, I have been finding myself consumed with impatience:
- (Foot taping) Alright, am I someone different yet?
- Ok, I’m ready for my perfect home yoga practice to magically appear!
- (Fidgeting) This sitting thing… can’t it just happen already?
- Can everything please just make sense NOW?
Well, let me be frank: we’re about 6 weeks in and mostly what I have are more questions and fewer answers.
But wait, that’s kind of the point.
Yoga Sutra 1.14 tells us that “Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated uninterruptedly and with devotion over a prolonged period of time.” Like tending to a garden, we can cultivate our existence. We can look inward for little clues. Devote ourselves to having an endless amount of curiosity. Ask questions and listen carefully for answers. Notice and observe. And it’s not enough to do these things once, or for a week, or for 6 weeks … it’s a lifetime commitment (and, depending on your beliefs, maybe many lifetimes).
I’m not different, but I’m not the same.
Here’s the thing: I still think old thoughts, have old feelings, and fall back on old patterns … but I also have new thoughts, new feelings, and new patterns emerging as well. It’s subtle — not like a “poof! and it’s done” kind of experience, but more like a “slow and steady finishes the race” sort of thing.
Change, like breath, seems to have a tendency towards shyness when we focus on it directly. The more I look for changes, the harder they become to spot. But when I remember to step back and ask questions instead, that’s when I notice the real differences — I see it in my answers, in my approach, and in my willingness to admit that “I don’t know.”
Summer will come when the time is right.
On day 1 of teacher training Michelle read us a quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke about patience. While this may not be the exact passage she read on day 1, it resonates with me (and maybe you) right now:
In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!
It’s February and spring is already starting to come into the horizon. Summer will follow, then fall, then winter again. And all the while, I’ll be breathing and trusting that there is a larger process at work here (except, of course, when I forget … but after I forget, then I’ll remember again, I’m sure :)).