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 http://www.dharmaseed.org/
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...