The highest form of maturity is self inquiry.
--Martin Luther King Jr.
Self-inquiry or svadyaya is one of the niyamas. I'm jumping ahead here to accommodate the nice timely quote above.
Anyway, self-study or self-inquiry is the basis for a good yoga/meditation practice. We don’t criticize ourselves, we study…we observe our thoughts and feelings and breath and reactions in the postures (or during meditation). We notice habitual thoughts (“I want the teacher to like me...I'm the worst student in class...my calves ache...”) and we let them happen w/o analyzing. Eventually, all the thoughts start to melt together until it is all just undifferentiated phenomena. And that’s when the life force, the pulse behind all those thoughts, starts to really show up, and you can say with utter clarity, “I am not these thoughts, these thoughts are not me.”
Self-study also implies reading scripture and illuminated literature, digesting it in your own way, without passively waiting to be fed the truth.
I hope your MLK Day was enjoyable and productive.
I was officially off work, so I spent the day revamping my resume and researching music publishers to whom to send my demo.
Then I discovered that Be Yoga has a sweet introductory deal (14 days unlimited membership for $40) so I signed up and took a class (and another one this morning, which meant getting up at 5:30).
I have avoided Be Yoga (formerly Yoga Zone) because I figured it would suck, but I was wrong, it's just another nice studio in the Flat Iron area. I am happy to take classes there, and it's convenient to my work commute. The only un-yoga-like thing I’ve noticed about the place is that we didn’t chant at all in either of the two classes I took—not even a cursory “ommm…” Strange…I love chanting.
Monkey's 98-year-old grandma passed away over the weekend. She's going to be buried next to her husband in NJ this week. I only met her a couple of times, sitting in her huge living room overlooking the lake. She was already far gone with Alzheimer's by the time I met her, but I enjoy hearing stories about her. She was a crazy Russian artist and actress who came over here in the...um...40s? I have to get this story straight before I continue. Her sculptures and paintings are everywhere in the Chicago Monkeys homes, and they are beautiful...Rest in peace GrandMonkey.
Due to scheduling issues, we took LaToya and Coney to the park in the dead of night last night instead of the morning. It transformed a nice little social ritual into something much wilder and more fun. It was bitterly cold, pitch black, but the field was lit up by the huge fat moon. We were the only ones there, no need for polite banter. The wind kicked up dust and debris, and we all tore madly around the fenced-in area, howling and being canine.
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