Over a year ago in what I perceived to be an act of bravery I volunteered to give the speech at my family's annual reunion dinner. If Mark Zuckenberg, I figured, who is the same age as me, can raise squillions through public speaking, through this lens, talking to a dozen inebriated Scotts would be a doddle.
Of course my body would tell me otherwise, public speaking being one of the horrors that strike fear into many a mortal (minus the Zuckenberg species) on a very physical level: terrifying. The thing is the brain is constantly reappraising situations: constructing often beautifully intricate narratives to support our sense of self. The problem is that none of it is true!
For example, I may feel jubilant and triumphant about having built a glistening new website when the thought drifts into my mind that at my same age, Alexander the Great had conquered half the world. I swiftly put myself back into my small little box where victories are put into perspective just to ensure no swelling of the head.
But of course, everything is relative and when we compare instead of sharing human achievements we will continue to be part of the lowest common denominator.
On the yoga mat it is the same story: last week we felt heroic at sustaining garudãsana without a wobble and today we are crestfallen at the fact that we can only hold it for a minute. We want our bodies to be stronger, more limber and more perfect than they already are because of course time is passing and god forbid us from staying still. Except that perhaps we're completely and utterly wrong; perhaps the point is not this; the point is ever shifting like time itself.
Perhaps if we were to still, really still, even for a moment; become one-pointed, we could come to realise that it's not all about yesterday, today and tomorrow, it's not about age or about time; it's about depth.
Being in the now is an expression that is currently mocked; of course it is! if we were to be in the now within our current framework, we would be observing a continuous reel of nonsense that our mind creates to keep us in distraction. By being so caught up in it we wouldn't even be able to observe, we're fully identifying with this faulty perception.
Being in the DEPTH of the now is something different; it's taking the plunge to seeing beyond the nonsense, which is a scary place where there's nothing to hold onto: stuff keeps being taken away, but it's also a hilarious place, and sad, and exhilarating, and desperate and everything all at once. So go, explore! Let this exploration be your yoga.
Sit holding in your mind a situation (i.e: a future speech) and observe the emotions (i.e: terror) that arise and then shift to being just with the feeling, let it act out. If this practice brings up reactions that are too strong to handle, definitely seek out a trusted teacher. Transformation is around the corner.
My family dinner has been postponed so my speech making will have to wait: phew. I will keep you posted on that one! I'll probably be as old as Bob Marley when he gave his One Love Peace Concert.