"In the ocean we cannot raise a wave without causing a hollow somewhere else. The course of nature will not stop for such you and me, . . . only a blessed privilege to you and to me that we are allowed in the way of helping others, to educate ourselves." -- Swami Vivekananda, Karma Yoga: The Yoga of Action
My body is still adjusting to the 14-hour difference. It's wonderful to be back and teaching. The welcoming from my yoga community this past weekend was deeply touching. During the 2 1/2 weeks in Thailand I drew 25 creative images of the women in the yoga community. Much like each class I teach, each day in Thailand was filled with joy as I surrounded myself with and worked on the images of the women. No matter how far one wanders away from the tasks delightful to the soul one finds ways to return to it. One day, as I was drawing my memory of the day I asked my dad to let me study arts in college surfaced. Throughout my school years in Thailand I had little interest for the study and focused on the extra curricular activities such as sports and school plays and dances. The only class I was able to focus deeply was a drawing class in 10th grade. I cried when my dad forbade me to go to an art school. Before teaching yoga I did what I had to do to get by and be a decent member of the society but I was confused and untethered. So many of us are detached from daily actions or focus on the wrong ones due to the disconnect to the soul desires. No matter how much external resources we receive, without following the heartfelt passion there is no joy.
Karma yoga is the path of self-knowledge through selfless action. When the body moves from the grateful heart we achieve results through the means belonged to the primordial creativity in all of us. The undeniable sense of floating aimlessly above (or below) life eventually took me to the path of embodiment that is yoga. When the mind and body have wandered far off from the soul's path the first thing to do is Raja yoga or the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Translated as the royal path, it cultivates first and foremost Tapas or discipline that is the foundation of the physical yoga we practice in the classes and beyond. Developing a discipline from an untethered life is no small thing. I used to regularly blow things and people off but the more disciplined I am the more I stick with them. The more I stick to present actions and relationships the better understanding of the creative life force and the more connected I am within and with the presents of life. Once united within, all paths of yoga converge. Yoga is the practice of aligning in all aspects and at all levels. Beside Raja/discipline and Karma/action there are Jnana/philosophy and Bhakti--devotion. At this time of life journey I feel a strong creative force coursing through my daily actions that is Karma yoga.
Misalignment is misdirection. It is wasteful and destructive. The more align we are the more creative and powerful we become. Selfless actions of our grateful hearts are supported by the soul desires of others. Back in Thailand the warmth, femininity, and sultriness kept my right brain active and imagination alive allowing the artistic actions to flow effortlessly. Here in the Bay Area I'm on an organizational mode. It is a creative task to find the right balance as I work on my book project -- Women in Yoga which requires both the yin and yang skills. Through the years of yogic disciplinary and teaching I've realized that making artsy beautiful things means little to me unless they serve the needs of others as much as the needs of my soul. To align I've reoriented from self promotion to community connection and support. The book is the mean to deepen the connection with my yoga community which made up mainly of women. They're as important as food, shelter, and clothing. Following the soul's path is taking a risk of being an individual creatively unique self. To imitate someone else's creative journey is to avoid being. No matter how much we do we cannot experience the depth of ourselves. Avoidance is the greatest risk of all. May we align with the course of our nature and be "allowed in the way of helping others, to educate ourselves".