I had the opportunity recently to spend time in New York City and as is my usual habit, take in a couple of yoga classes in studios I haven’t been to before. What a wonderful oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city and a nice contrast to the intensive workshop I was taking.
As is the New York energy, I watched people stretch, grunt and push themselves into poses, barely remembering to breathe when prompted by our fiercely kind teacher. This is not unusual in a yoga studio these days, and I admit I have been known to be the one pushing myself to the limits in a sweaty power class at times.
I thought of the phrase I had heard recently referring to this phenomena: “Who cares if you can put your foot behind your head if you’re still an asshole.”
Think about it.
What is the point of achieving goals if the goal becomes the object, but the journey makes you an asshole?
What is the point if you’re not becoming a happier, more loving human being to the people who are important to you, or anyone else for that matter?
In other words, what will you reflect on at the end of your life: the fact that you achieved putting your foot behind your head, or how you spent your time in relationships?
Of course achieving goals can be exhilarating, stressful and requires persistence and dedication. But if the goal, whatever if might be, becomes the ‘raison d’etre’ and comes at the expense of the very thing that gives us meaning, it’s time to re-evaluate.
The greatest spiritual practice is not how much you go to church, how much you give to people in need, how much good work you do, how much you meditate or pray… it is how you go home to love your family, those closest to you, or even the coffee barista for that matter. That’s where the rubber hits the road, and is often the much harder thing to do.
I have sat with many couples where one, or both partners are high achieving, successful, generous, philanthropic people, yet the hardest thing to do is to sit, listen (I mean REALLY listen), empathize and build intimacy and love. It requires a whole lotta breathing, staying present and accepting all that is different, stretching yourself to include another human being who has different wants, needs, desires, goals and habits, without judgement. Don’t confuse acceptance with compliance, or being a doormat.
So, my practice as I walk the streets of New York, or anywhere for that matter, is to open up and accept all without judgement, knowing you will never fully understand other people and knowing we always have choice to move toward or away…. without being an asshole.
Are you interested in finding more peace, calm and focus in your life? Then you might be interested in joining me for a morning of mindfulness practice. We will learn about and practice mindfulness, movement and breathing patterns to build resilience with a tool box to calm the nervous system. A mid-morning mindful eating snack is included!
Please see details below and contact me to reserve a spot or get more info:
Have a GREAT weekend,
2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Spiritual Practice”
interested in July 7..not sure yet
It would be great if you could join us!