Monday, November 8, 2010

A Muddy and Bright Night

I was listening to a talk by Insight Meditation guru Jack Kornfield the other day, and in it, he quoted a famous Serbian proverb (you know, we just don't get enough of that Serbian wisdom these days!). The proverb goes, "Be humble because you are made of mud; be noble because you are made of stars."

This past Friday, I visited teacher training, and took a lovely evening class with a Canadian teacher named Ida. A dear friend of mine and I met bloggers Josie and Catherine, who was visiting from out of town, and just had a blast. There was so much energy in the tent that night (gee, did it have anything to do with the trainees getting the night off? The shouts of joy upon receiving the news were deafening).

It was just what I needed. After the class, my friend and I sat on our mats long after everyone else had left and talked to these bright and lovely yogis. I felt connected and alive. It was just what I'd needed after a pretty rough day. I'd spent the day with a real beast in my brain--so much frustration and, uh, not gentle thoughts toward myself. I was so down before class that I almost "called in sick" to yoga. Talk about being made of mud! Before the class I felt like my thoughts were formed out of clay, so hardened and thick that they'd be completely unmovable.

Obviously, though, I got myself to the class. Seeing Catherine's and Josie's happy smiling faces, entering that "yoga bubble" the trainees talk about, and the rockin' class itself softened up that clay.

I'm sure casual visitors to a TT class know what I'm talking about: you enter the tent and are astounded by experience of being surrounded by 400 people. You think you'll spend the class gawking at the blue shorts in front of you or the 10-foot high podium holding up the teacher, marveling at the many bodies moving in unison. Of course, somewhere around standing-head-to-knee pose it all becomes you and your mat once again. I think that's the most marvellous thing of all. Thanks to my old and new friends.

So... I don't really know what it is that enables us to be made of both stars and mud. Maybe it's the fact that we're made of of atoms that comprise both types of matter. Maybe it's because we let the sludge pile up over the stars that burn brightly inside us. Both are there, but which do we give power to?

We're made of mud, and we're made of stars. Let's feel appropriately humbled and inspired, shall we?

p.s. A shout-out to one of the many sources of inspiration out there on 'net-land: download free talks amazing talks by Kornfield and the like on Buddhism and meditation

p.p.s. for those of you kind enough to care about my termite saga, they are still keeping residence with me, but due to the cooling trend they are no longer swarming, praise Buddha, Allah, Mary, et al. I'm exploring my treatment options...


thedancingj said...

That is a gorgeous theme. Muddy and bright. Nothing to add to that, just wanted to say that I love it. :)

Martina said...

I love this post Elisa! The science and the metaphor work perfectly and I love when that happens. You are good at covering up your clay with star shine because I thought you looked absolutely radiant with your new hair cut and the blue top…I was taken aback…you were a beaming solar flare.

I agree the energy of the tent is something else. I experienced the best standing bow of my life, granted I couldn’t see myself in the mirror, maybe the image in my head was a fabrication, but it doesn’t matter because it felt good. So damn good and I know it must be a product of the surrounding energy.

Dorothy said...

I've lurked long enough. I really love this idea that we are base and brilliant simultaneously.

On a different note, termites? Wow. I hope you find some solution soon.

Catherine said...

I love this. If there were a way to tattoo "mud" (the sludge, not the word), I 'd get is juxtaposed with stars. Amazing quote.

I'm so glad neither of us called in sick! xo

hannahjustbreathe said...

AMAZING. Just the post I needed to read on this bleak, rainy day here in Boston. And that quote is going straight into my quote book.

Annah said...

I think I need some yoga in my class. Way under too much stress.

Also? Yolk is delicious. HMMMMM especially sunny side up.

Yolk E said...

Shit, I wrote personalized responses to everyone, but they got deleted.

To recap, Marti, Hannah and J, thanks as always :-) big hug.

Annah and Dorothy, thanks for stopping by. I will have to check out your blogs! Sunny side up forever! The gooey-er the better.

Catherine, I'm also so glad neither called in sick :-) It was a LOVELY experience.