December 9, 2013

Crossing the Street in Mysore: Inviting Balance Into Every Moment. ~ Bibi Lorenzetti {Video}

“If one’s foundation is firm then whatever is supported by it will be stable as well.”

~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

In Mysore, something as simple as crossing the street requires attention, concentration, courage, and determination. This is exactly why I have come all this way—to strip away the fancy stuff, to tune into basic yet vital skills and to enter a world of noise and silence, of action and observation.

For the past month, I have had plenty of time to notice my inner workings. I spend many hours of each day contemplating balance, and I am cultivating balance through my asana practice.

Balance requires careful attention to what it is that I am doing in every moment. This attention requires courage and determination.

I invite the same breath and the same presence of mind and spirit  that I experience in my asana practice into other moments of my day: shopping for food, preparing food, eating food, cleaning my body, cleaning my space, studying, and sleeping.

These tasks and functions are extensions of my practice and experiments in the search for balance and unity.

In the process of daily experimentation, I express love for myself and for life, and I seek to apply the basic principles I learn from my teachers: non-harming, compassion, kindness, truth, and cleanliness in speech and body. My body becomes a clean temple and I can perceive life clearly, and therefore be a better person for others—or, at least, attempt to! But it begins with me.

How can we invite balance into every moment?

Paralleli asana vita quotidiana. The streets of Mysore are a good illustration of what India is like: cows, dogs, people, cars, rickshaws, street carts, flowers, no street divisions, no stop lights, street vendors.

Everything and everyone is here.

Crossing the street in India requires attention, concentration, courage, and determination. Once you make the choice to go for it, there is no turning back. It’s as if time has stopped and I hear all the sounds of all the movement, but in slow motion. My goal is clear: to get to the other side and be present for the journey that is lies between where I am and where I am going.

In New York, it is easy to forget about the journey, because the path from A to B is fairly straightforward. Here in Mysore, I remember that yes, it is important to know where I am headed, but I will never get there if I am not present.

If I want to relax,  I must go home and take rest. As a foreigner, there is no relaxing on the streets of Mysore.

If I stay present, there is only so much I really need to do, and that is when I learn who I really am.

Staying present is like eating or doing your practice: bravery, determination, and patience are essential. I set an intention, act with determination, and wait. This is how I build a balanced relationship with myself and with my food.

We don’t give up and turn our backs. We don’t go back the way we came. We choose to make the leap and cross over so that our efforts to reach the edge of the road are not thrown away.

The choice is always there and it is up to us to take it. Fear might arise at first. And we become attuned to it, available and receptive to it. Less afraid. More aware. Better prepared.

And then one day, you will find it is not so difficult to reach the other side.

“If one’s foundation is firm then whatever is supported by it will be stable as well.”

~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


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Assistant Editor: Michelle Wiley/Editor: Bryonie Wise





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