I used to think that if I practiced YOGA for a long time, life would become clear-cut and simple.
I thought perhaps with many, many sun salutations added up throughout the years, I would come to the point where I would have immediate answers, and as a by-product, feelings would no longer affect me.
I used to think that if I meditated uninterruptedly for years, I would get a medal, and with it, a carefree, all-inclusive-answers-guaranteed enlightenment kit.
However, it turns out with years of practice and with continuous self-study, things haven’t necessarily gotten easier, and although I visualized it in my enlightenment comic book, I have not become Superwoman.
In fact, it turns out, practicing yoga and meditating over the years, committing to self-study, goes the opposite direction from transcending all human concerns. It turns out, I feel more; I care more. I can laugh and cry more easily.
It used to be optional to be kind to myself, to my body and to others. It was optional to be compassionate to animals, plants and the environment. But now, my entire body and heart speak up whenever I don’t.
It turns out, years of practice didn’t transmute me into Superwoman, it just made me more human.
What I did not expect after these years of practice were the following realizations:
- I get to spread my toes in the middle of the supermarket, bank, street, bus, etc, and it helps me walk taller and breathe easier.
- I recognize the potential yoga studio on the airplane aisle, bank, supermarket, street, bus, etc.
- Seeing my cat stretch in the morning is my daily reminder of my commitment to practice.
- I am able to sit still for a while to meditate or to write an article, not knowing where it might lead me, or to sit with a loved one who has recently lost her partner.
- Every day (and every kiss) feels new.
Time is now precious.
Somehow, it turns out I can now learn from anyone. Fear is no longer an enemy, but a strong, powerful teacher. Now I can be completely honest with myself when I feel sad and tired and uninspired. I can also be content with my body more often than unsatisfied with it.
Now, I realize I have so much more to learn, and I have a long way to go.
I am a complete beginner.
And with beginner’s eyes, I realize my heart is no longer just the amazing organ that keeps my blood flowing, it is my dear, inner companion leading the way through this ever new play of life.
(As previously published on Elephant Journal)