Last month (December 2009) I introduced my article with this short Zen story.
A Zen student asked his Master, “Master, what is the most important thing”?
“The most important thing”, said the Master, “is to find out what is the most important thing.”
So this month I continue the theme of asking important questions.
In 2003 I was working as a service engineer, studying on the Viniyoga Practitioner Course and developing my own personal Yoga practice. I had bought a book by Gary Kraftsow entitled ‘Yoga for Transformation’
In the section on ‘Refining the personality’ there is a practice where you are asked to use some reflective meditations. I had been doing this practice daily for a month and had the questions written on my whiteboard with the asana/pranayama sequences. The questions are:
What is my highest value?
What is most important to me?
What are my highest priorities?
You reflect on these questions and then go through a sequence of three practices for body, mind and speech. At the completion of stage one you ask yourself how much of your action of body is aligned with your values. You then move on to thought and speech. At the end of the practice you are asked to consider how much of your daily action is in harmony with your highest values and reflect on the meaning of your answer.
I went to work one morning and lifting an oil drum from my van, my back went into a spasm and I was lying on the floor for some time wondering what to do. I did a few apanasana movements to release my back, managed to crawl to my van cab and lifted myself into my van and drove home. I spent the next few days in my Yoga room as it was on the same floor as the bathroom. I had to crawl everywhere and was in a lot of pain. On the whiteboard were my three questions staring at me.
I had been teaching Yoga part time for three years. I thought that if I really damaged my back I would not be able to be an engineer or a Yoga teacher. I decided then to leave my job as an engineer and teach Yoga full-time as in my heart that is what I really wanted to do and I figured it would be better for my back.
So, since 2003 I have taught Yoga full-time. It has not been easy in many ways, but I am always content inside as I feel I am following my Dharma. There is a saying I like.
“Happy is the man who has found his task, for he shall ask for no other blessing.”
So if you have already found your task I am very happy for you.
If you have not, you may like to try the practice I mentioned and see what happens.
The full practice is in ‘Yoga for Transformation’ by Gary Kraftsow p191-214
Happy New Year – may you spend it well fulfilling your Dharma.