Filling Up with Wisdom
Dear Friends, Thank you to each of you who emailed me or told me that these monthly thoughts have been helpful for you. Your words encourage me to write, even when I sometimes wonder whether what I am writing is relevant to other people's lives. It's a great reminder for me that even though we think that our struggles are so unique, the reality is that we are all much more alike than we are different.
These last few weeks I have been feeling a lot of gratitude for the many teachers that I have in my life. Over the last year, I have studied with dozens of meditation and yoga teachers, including Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, and John Friend. I am about to embark upon an extensive Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation program at Spirit Rock in California, in which I will be studying with Jack Kornfield, Stephen Cope, Tias Little, Jude Boccio, and many other experienced mindfulness and yoga teachers. I feel very blessed to have access to these amazing teachers, and so grateful for the work that they have done to help enlighten me and support my practice.
I remember once reading a biography of B.K.S. Iyengar, and how he used to practice asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing practices) for many hours every day, often while his family slept. And I look at Thich Nhat Hanh, at the age of 80+, and the travel and work schedule that he keeps, and I know that the dedication of my teachers, and their devotion to awareness and enlightenment is a gift to me. Every time that my teachers choose to practice, they gain more understanding and they are then able to pass it along to me. As John Friend said this week, "As I go up, I will keep carrying you all higher and higher with me."
The word guru comes from the Sanskrit word meaning "heavy." The guru is the one who is heavy with knowledge and wisdom, and who by that heaviness attracts students to him or her (like a bowling ball on a bed sheet was the analogy that John Friend gave). So as a student, I give thanks to my teachers who continue to fill up with knowledge and insight, and to share their insights with me so that I can grow increasingly more aware of the world as it is, and more able to express my unique contributions to the world.
In a way we are all teachers for each other. And the more that we commit to our practice and to growing our self-awareness, the more that we can offer to everyone that we meet. The fall especially is a time for filling ourselves up in preparation for the sparser winter months. I envision each of us filling up with wisdom as we practice together at Circle Yoga.
May we all get fat with self-awareness and insight this fall, so that we have plenty to share with each other in the months ahead.
With love, Annie