Ramiro Ventura @Ashtanga Yoga Sattva. Photo Credit Agustín R. Dusserre
At a given time the practice was for me a sacred space in which I would sit, or rather move along, with my inner world. It was a moment of the day in which I could let loose my twisted thoughts, complicated emotions, and unhappy feelings. In a way it felt like getting rid of a burden; as if by just dwelling on all of those things for a while, they would simply evaporate into thin air.
However, now that I have matured - or so I like to think - as a practitioner I can see how this was the wrong way of looking at it. Having practice be like digging a hole in the dirt in which I would dump my stuff was no different than deluding myself. I was spiritual bypassing by thinking that with just showing up on the mat it would all magically go away.
I was also being extremely unfair to the practice by expecting it alone took care of the things that troubled me and rather childish by not assuming responsibility for my own mental integrity.
I now like to think of practice as if it was a well.
If you know anything of to how to dig a well, you will know that the process is mostly muddy; you might go through rough spots from time to time, find obstacles along the way and sometimes you may not even be able to find water at all. But, if you are lucky enough, you will hit bedrock and the natural spring so longed for will be brought about to the surface.
It is important when digging up a well that the path you create stays as clear as possible; thus, you must contain the surrounding soil or otherwise, it will collapse inwards tampering the water or blocking the way up entirely.
It is in this same manner you drill deep into the earth to get to fresh drinking water that you must dig within the terrain of your own consciousness so as to get a taste of the true Self.
In this sense, when it comes to the practice you want to build strong foundations and keep inline all expectations –yours and others’.
For all one knows, the bottom of a well can be a scary place. It is probably damp, dark and lonely. I have come to realize that practice can become the same if only used as a depository of our drama. It came a time in which unless I consciously raised bucket loads of grieve and misery to the surface, darkness would have eventually buried me in.
Thoughts and feelings are of course still there, but not as something that I throw into a well but merely as something that emerges from within. Now, instead of a place into which unload different perceptions and reactions from circumstances of daily life, the practice has become the process of bringing to light the patterns of behavior that exist imprinted into my own persona and that those circumstances work up.
This new understanding has bec