Monday, October 25, 2010

Reaching Enlightenment

A young man in his late teens or early 20's walked into my class this morning. He's been to class a few times - no more than 3 times total. It was a bit of a surprise to see him show up so early at the 6:00 a.m. class. He walked in the door and said "Yogi - teach me how to find Enlightement." I thought it was a joke - but he was serious!

"What makes you think I know anything about enlightment?" I asked.
"Well haven't you found it yet? Aren't you close?" he asked.
I said, "I don't know if I'm close or far - I just come here every morning to practice - so if you want to practice get a mat and let's start."

This poor lad! He is a handsome young man - tall, and appeared to be fit & strong. But his body was so so stiff and awkward. He was greatly challenged in the most basic poses. I gave him props and modifications for Down Dog and Padangusthasana. He was cramping, shaking, huffing and puffing. He couldn't straighten his legs.

He said "I can't straighten my leg all the way cuz I worked it out the other day."
I said to him, "We gotta have you stop working out then!"

The other students in the class chuckled. I felt for the young man as I had been in even worse condition 16 years ago.

As we continued to practice I asked him "So why do you want to reach Enlightenment?"
He said, "Why not?"
I said, "Well, from my understanding - when you reach Enlightenment all craving and desire has ceased - and I still like frenchfries - a lot!"
He was quiet for a while after that statement. I imagine he starting thinking about the things that he desires and craves - like wanting to reach Enlightenment. We kept practicing.

I thought about his question the entire class. "...haven't you found it yet? Aren't you close?"

The truth is that I probably wouldn't know "Enlightenment" if it hit me between the eyes. How do you "get close" to enlightenment? Isn't that like "almost pregnant?" I would think you either ARE enlightened or NOT. And underneath all those thoughts - was the though "what is enlightenment anyway?" I went into a Marichiasana Twist.

"So do you think it's possible?" he asked.
"Do I think what's possible - for you to keep you leg straight in Trikonasana?" I asked.
"NO" he said, "for me to reach enlightenment?"
I looked at the position of his foot and asked him to turn it out. Then I said, "Come back tomorrow and we'll work on your poses and we'll find out - until then, lift your kneecap please."

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Enlightenment is a tricky beast. The more I grasp for it, the more slippery it is.

I find that I do feel more awake, day by day. I'll take awake for now...