Yesterday marked Day 36 of the Bikram Yoga challenge: not being one to settle for the ordinary 30-in-30, yours truly felt compelled to go six more days.
Just in case nobody noticed.
Although the Matron does her best not to think during class -- just listen, breath, and move-- sometimes epiphanies visit her. This is a pleasant offshoot of the meditative yoga experience.
In the midst of yesterday's Standing Tree Pose, such Realization flashed through the Matron, from her prayer-like hands to her one-legged root. She came home eager to share this wisdom with her husband.
Matron: "John! I had a complete and total epiphany during yoga today. I am NOT going to talk so much about myself. Have you ever noticed how much I discuss the texture of my day? The precise nuance and nature of my feelings, stance, demeanor? No -- really. Have you ever noticed that?"
John (truly, truly considering his words here): "Um . . . -- "
Matron: "I KNOW. So here's the deal. Real yoga practice demands being an empty vessel. I've been thinking about Sunday's Dharma talk too, how living without dualism - impossible, a goal, really -- means understanding other as self, one and the same. So I am going to subjugate my own needs and sense of self (ego) and allow that energy to move into the needs of others. It's amazing what happens to one's own ego and sense of self when that self is reconsidered in the service and appreciation of others. This all came upon me in a flash during yoga. I swear that practice has completely transformed me. What an amazing, enlightening experience these 36 days have been. Maybe it was because I can now do the Standing Tree Pose with no hand support that I was able to achieve this realization? Probably. Now I can stand on one leg without a problem and even go to my heel - no hands! That's sort of how I re-understood life as being about forgetting self and subsuming self-interest into others. It's so exciting! I can already feel the difference in my bones-- sort of my stance toward the world. What do you think?"
John: "About what?"
Matron: "Me not talking or thinking about ME? Isn't that interesting?"
John: "I'm at a loss. Interesting, yes."
Matron: "I KNOW . . . and isn't that . . . ." And so she continued, the new non-focus on the self becoming the new focus on her self.
John: "Mary? Are we done talking about how we're not going to talk about you anymore?"
Matron: "Of course! We're not even talking about ME we're talking about how we're not going to focus on ME. There's a qualitative difference."
John: "Well, let's hold that thought until we get dinner on the table."
Matron: "Yes! I can't wait to tell the children!"
Of course, everybody was thrilled to discuss not discussing their mother and her new journey toward non-self focus. Just the way she likes it!