By: David Garrigues
It's hard for me not to become jaded on the subject of pain.
Sometimes I get tired of having to defend the practice. I get tired of some students having the attitude that the practice has to prove itself to them - rather than the opposite. It's like being down in a miraculous, magical cave underground made of precious, sparkling and glittering jewels: rubies, emeralds, sapphires, interlaced with brilliant gold and silver. Light, wealth, and beauty are all around and yet some look around and bemoan, What is this dirty, dark, desolate cave?
Forgive me but I don't care about your pain, small or large, because it is infinitely tiny and nothing at all compared to the possibilities for healing that are right in front of you. If you apply yourself with even moderate intensity to the practice, it will give back to you abundantly. It will offer you the jewels of health, mental command and strength, perennial youth and spiritual knowledge. That's why I don't wait and expect the practice to prove itself to me - I work and pray diligently and hope that I can prove myself to be worthy of it.
Guruji was smarter than I am, and rather than become angry or jaded, he applied other strategies. Perhaps his best plan was his purposeful decision NOT to learn to speak English very well. And he would pretend to know even LESS English when the pain questions started to come up:
Student: Guruji my groin is hurting right in here (pointing towards leg) it's been six months, should I...
Guruji: Huh? No problem you take it practice ...yes, yes I am teaching, no problem.
And here's another of Guruji's strategies—put on the rose-colored glasses and become an unstoppable, positive force for Ashtanga:
(Guruji with student after earning a loud popping noise coming from the student's knee, back or shoulder):
Guruji: Oh! Good Pop!
Student: Guruji I am sick, fever has come.
Guruji: Very good! After take it practice no problem!
(Distressed student, asking almost any question):
Guruji: Yes, yes you take it more practice ... or Bad man! Twenty five dollars fine... or No problem, after it's going.
I miss Guruji. I wish I could make it as straight forward and direct as he did.
Because there are literally endless obstacles available to each of us to keep us from truly having to look within, grow and become more conscious. At certain times, we can become vulnerable or susceptible to using these excuses to prove to ourselves that what we are doing is somehow wrong or harmful.
But perhaps practice is simply too hard ... or showing us about ourselves too much too soon? Maybe we don't want to admit that we are simply feeling a strong need to escape, or to turn away? Suppose we are prone to finding any excuse to dodge out when things start to get really interesting?
If you expect success in yoga to come at a small price tag: QUIT NOW. Because if you are serious, by the end you will have sacrificed everything to your spiritual practice. You will have used your body, your mind, your spirit as food. You will have eaten and digested all of you.
There will be nothing left but - VOID. Thus you can answer your own pain questions and complaints by forgetting how to speak your native language, or putting on your own rose-colored glasses and become an unrelenting, unstoppable, positive force for your practice.