"Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah"
Yoga=Union; Citta=of the mind stuff, chatter; vritti=mental modifications; nirodhah=restarint or cessation
the restraint of the modifications of the mind stuff is yoga
yoga is to still the patterns of concsiousness
Brian and I loaded everything into my mom's car at 8:00am EST in the morning (2/11). I had one last class to teach before heading off to the airport. I had leaned into my preparation from the months, weeks and days before so there was nothing particularly pressing this morning besides making sure we had our passports and confirmed that the flight was still running on time. We sat for a leisurely cup of coffee. It was the first time in weeks I felt myself slow down and it may have been the first time I have sat down in months where I wasn't linked to my phone, computer our notbook. My mind was far from a blank slate, but there was a certain calm and spaciousness that I was really enjoying for the moment. Hmmm Was it really possible for me to let go of my list of things to do and just go on with the journey? I was certainly ready to give it a shot.
The statement Pantajali makes is simple. Yoga is to clam down the mind, clear the thoughts, or find a little bit of peace in the brain. Such a clear and beautiful statement. Why then does it seem so far off and illusive, why do we have such a hard time getting out of our heads. I have heard the mental modifications referred to as "the monkey mind", "the horse with no rider" or as "tying the puppy to the post" (Stephen Cope-wisdom of yoga Each image some animal running freely with seemingly no way to tame it. I feel as if we could spend all of our time on this one sutra alone. after all isn't this is really the end game.
Yoga/Union what are we uniting? Maybe it is not simply releasing thought, but becoming a more integrated whole. I don't believe it is just about sitting and lack of movement that can bring about this lucidity, but I do believe there needs to be enough physical space and opportunity to step outside of the daily chaos, both external and internal, to begin to see the forest through the trees. It is not lost on me that although the travel requires this large scale movement from one place to another, it is at the same time a full day and a half of primarily sitting still with very little distraction . hmmm I may have found my first access to traveling meditation.
I used this first leg of the trip as a clearing point and kept the computer shut and notebooks aside, no phone and decided to even let go of reading until I got to my destination. The beginning moments were a bit of a mental disco complete with shiny objects and a musicality that made me chuckle. As the trip progressed I found that I wasn't controlling what came up for me,but I was deeply aware of me watching my own process. Who is doing the thinking and who is the witness? Is my mind really able to react and be fully aware of watching it's own reactions. This is not the first time I have pondered this question, but it sits more strongly with me today than before. I feel more connected to the witness than to the thoughts as they happen, that is a new distinction for me.
On the 2nd leg from LAX to Auckland I am lucky to have slept the majority of the flight so the 12 hours appeared as 2 in my view. I was luck to awaken in time for B and I to catch the sunrise. Simon (B's Cousin) picked us up and it has been a slow moving day of adjustment to meeting new family, checking out the new surroundings and such. I look forward to diving back into this process and observing my own nature as the days progress. For now I think a great glass of wine and a meal with family will be what this yogi orders.