I started keeping a blog in 2007 when I took a trip with Anne to Pune, India to study at the Iyengar Institute. At the time, I never read blogs and never thought I would keep one but my students asked me to to start a blog so they could read about my trip while I was gone. So I did. I figured a dozen people would read my blog and after the summer of yoga study I would stop writing. As it turned out, I enjoyed the process of writing a web blog and I kept up with the practice. In the beginning of the project, I wrote almost daily entries about my personal activities, my class sequences and also gave all kinds of opinions and commentaries on what was happening in my corner of the yoga world in which I participated.
Seems like I am busier now than ever with all kinds of activities both online and in-person that makes keeping a daily blog seem unrealistic but recently I have been so fatigued by Facebook that I thought maybe I should go back to writing more on my blog and spending less time on Facebook. There are so many fun times to be had on Facebook so I am not swearing it off or making some big thing out of it as the Facebook forum can be a great tool. However, for me lately, keeping up with Facebook's ever-changing protocols and algorithms is a full-time job with increasingly diminishing returns.
Years ago, one of my students started a blog and updated her Facebook status with the pronouncement: "Facebook is a dalliance. Having a blog is a commitment." I am not sure if she still has her blog since she wrote that comment a long time ago and commitments are not easy to keep. However, her words have been ringing through my head these days as the time between my blog entries is getting longer every month. For many reasons, it seems harder and harder to sit down to write a meaningful blog entry these days. It isn't that I am not thinking about all kinds of thing I could write about. I am always thinking about things. I hate to blame "busy" but perhaps busy is as good a reason as any. Between my online programs, the plethora of email I tend to, the ongoing crafting of course descriptions, and ubiquitous cruising on Facebook, etc. much of my time and energy is spent on other pursuits of varying degrees of creativity, productivity and consciousness.
However, lately my blog has been calling. Maybe because Anne is headed back to Pune, India and I am reflecting on how the whole writing-a-blog-thing got started. Maybe the blog is calling because I keep finding Facebook discussions to be increasingly frustrating for a variety of reasons. Maybe because the process of writing and sharing is so clarifying and the expanse of blank page or a blank screen invites me to take some much-needed time to explore an idea or to make an offering. And perhaps what is actually calling is not the blog as much as it is the time, exploration and the space for listening to myself a bit more deeply that writing affords me.
My mother gave me my first diary when I was quite young- sometime around the time I was five or six years old. The little diary had page for every day of the year with the date clearly stamped on the top of the page. Mom helped me get started in the practice of writing down the day's events. When I was around nine, my dad handed me a black and white composition notebook and introduced me to journal writing. He taught me that I could write down whatever I wanted- not just what happened during my day but how I felt about the events and what I thought about my life and what was going on. No longer restricted to one page per day, the world of writing about my life opened up to me and I have kept a journal of some kind ever since.
I still write by hand in a journal, although not every day. And keeping a web blog, even though a blog can be quite personal, is a different animal than a private journal since a blog is public. At any rate, for both public and private use, writing has always been such a meaningful way for me to mine my life experiences for the nuggets of gold hidden in the midst of the grit and grime of daily life.
I think about the image of mining gold a lot when it comes to growth and transformation. When gold is taken from the earth a whole bunch of earth comes with it. It is not as simple as just digging up some gold and making something pretty with it right away. The gold is extracted along with a bunch of rock and dirt and so on and a big process of freeing the ore from the earth, heating it and purifying it is involved. Then the process of turning the gold into something useful, ornamental, etc. is another set of skills. and really, pure gold is too soft to do much with. That is another entry for another day but honestly the Path of the Pure is not my path at all. A certain measure of impurity, difficulty and dare I say lead, may be necessary.
Okay, back to the mining process...
Just like in life the Teachings tell us that there is gold hidden in our difficulties, that everything in life can be our teacher, that everything in life can be used for our growth and that hidden in the dirt, rocks and impurities of our circumstances is the gold of our awakening. Yes, yes, yes and yes. I believe that. I really do.
However, the real question for me is, not if the Teaching is true but given that I believe it to be true, am I actually mining the gold or am I just talking about it? If every situation can be used, am I actually doing the work to make use of what I have been given? Do I have the skills to turn my disappointments to my spiritual advantage? Can I find the lessons I need in my heartbreak? Can I listen to myself closely enough to discern wisdom from whining and caution from judgement ? Can I and will I courageously act in accordance to what I hear?
Like that. I get that life can teach me in every moment. I also get that I do not always make the best student. I get distracted, caught-up, scared, and so on. And then I wake up again and get back to the work and play of living the Teachings for another day and exploring how best to use what I have been given.
Lee encouraged us to write about our experiences in sadhana and if we had some great insight, experiences, revelation, etc., he would often say, "It didn't happen if it isn't written down," which more or less meant, "Please, don't tell me about it, write about it." He also said that the degree to which we can articulate our experience is the degree to which we have integrated it. Obviously, there are many ways to articulate something and many ways to integrate an experience in addition to writing about it. Writing is one of many ways.
I personally like to write because often times the part of me writing is much wiser than the part of me going about my busy life. And there is something about writing ideas and insights down that creates a container of accountability and a structure for listening to my own deeper currents that is meaningful. And necessary.
Well, perhaps not the most inspiring entry this morning but I am priming the pump. Oh wait, that is another metaphor.
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"There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heaven, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart."