“Where-ere-ere-ere is love?
Does it fall from skies above?
Is it underneath the willow tree
That I’ve been dreaming of?”
Today I feel as though I’m going to break out (most uncharacteristically, I must say! 🙂 ) into a Walt Disney tune!
We’ve been exploring love and compassion in class a bit recently, using Krishna as the archetype for these qualities. I’ve taken this idea home with me and used mantras, music and the iconography of Krishna to see how this helps me cultivate feelings of love in my practice. A year ago I would have expected to run screaming into the night if someone had suggested I might do this, but now… now it just feels like something I do sometimes. And Krishna was big on being playful too, so I don’t need to take it too seriously and get all caught up in the existential questions…
This crazy practice has made me reflect a little on what everyone says about teacher training: “it’ll deepen your practice”. I’ve still got no idea what this might mean. My practice sometimes felt pretty deep before. Or maybe it was heavy rather than deep…
Practice now feels much lighter, that’s for sure. And right now I’m pretty happy with that: it feels more joyful, more full of light and love than ever before. I could even choose to call this ‘deeper’, since this is plunging headlong into such feelings of openness much further than I usually allow myself. And I feel welcome in this place as never before. I’m certainly not going to attribute all this to Krishna devotion, but reminding myself of these qualities and cultivating them in my practice is surely a good thing.
And back to earth, Krishna aside, a lot of this comes also from what I learned from my fellow-TTers. The warmth and compassion they showed me during training was quite overwhelming, even (especially) in my less than stellar moments. It totally eclipsed the degree of love I habitually allow myself, on or off the mat. I mean, I respect myself, I’m pretty proud of what I achieve, and I try hard to conduct myself in a good way generally. All admirable stuff! But I was most comfortable offering myself conditional love — based on what I’d achieved for myself or what I’d offered. Not love for just being me, with all the flaws, frailties and messiness that includes.
And I count myself blessed that I still feel their love every time I practice with any of them in class at the studio. I realise this closeness is what’s been missing in my practice. I’ve not been cosy with myself on the mat. I’ve observed myself, analysed my body’s capabilities, confronted fears, been disciplined, been brave — but I’ve not necessarily loved myself.
If Krishna reminds me of all this, then count me in!
And when my TTers inspire such feelings in me during class, I am filled with wonder and gratitude.
And that feels a pretty deep practice to me.