One of the things I speak most about in our yoga teacher trainings, in creating a harmonious space and relationships, is to not have an agenda. Karma simply means that we can’t get away with shit. Karma is the seed that resides within the intention behind the actions. Rather than the actions themselves, and it is our intention that creates karma. Therefore, one way to keep our hands clean and our karma clear, is to remove our personal agenda.
I have become really good at this in my business relationships, and it has allowed for me to really hear other peoples ideas and be able to offer them support for their growth. This practice has been the backbone of my work as a yoga therapist, allowing me to serve as a healer.
However in my personal life I am still working on it.
Like all practices, the only time we can practice not having an agenda, is when one shows up.
As I am backed into the corner of desire I realize that I do, in fact, have an agenda. It is easy when you preach, to forget to practice. This is the problem with the hierarchy of leaders failing in both spiritual and political roles. It is easy to spiritually bypass, and think that because we have done some work and realized some thing, it is final and we are done. Just because something is understood doesn’t mean that it is embodied.
While we are in these bodies, we are forever in change, and dealing with our unconscious thoughts and sensory cravings. It is liberating to remember “I am not special,” meaning- we are all experiencing this life together. What makes us unique and free of agenda and karma is how we “see” life experiencing itself through us, and through each other.
As a teacher and writer, I am a human-working on myself in front of others, and I have vowed to be courageous in truth, by not clinging to any personal identity.
But right now I do have an agenda. I desire comfort. I crave people and things that bring me comfort, or even my fantasies about people or things making me comfortable. I desire a warm bed and more time inside as the weather chills. I long for the warmth of a cup of tea in my hands or a warm body to ground me in solace.
Why do we crave comfort? Because, we are scared. We fear discomfort.
This is our dilemma as yogin because we are always told to be comfortable, and listen to our bodies, and one definition of yoga is to be comfortably seated in one’s self. If you really listen you will find that the destination to the core of your being is most uncomfortable, which is why at some point all religions and philosophies speak to life as suffering. Life doesn’t have to be suffering but at some point it will be and this is when you become alive. Like the old children’s novel, The Velveteen Rabbit, who got a little warn and lost some of his pieces when he was loved by the boy, but then was made real by the grace of the magic fairy once he understood suffering, so that he could be real to everyone, not just the boy.
Yoga wants us to be comfortably seated in ourselves, but the way to achieve this is by living in a way that doesn’t shut off the uncomfortable moment. Without discomfort their is no growth. Beware of the comfort zone, practices and life circumstances that feel comfortable are usually because we are mistaking painful experiences for pleasurable ones, by the filter of our lower mind and attachments. Allowing yourself to be rubbed a little by the squeezing of life loving you, is what will change your “sight.”
It is the circumstances of life’s suffering and spontaneous joy(love) that create momentary pause and give us the light of who we are.
In the tradition of Zen, Masters would beat their students in times when they didn’t expect it, to create the pause that one experiences when they are pure and free of karma. While it may be hard for us to wrap our mind around this one(which is precisely the point), if you take a look at life, isn’t it the “WTF” moments that steer you towards a road of change and transformation. When we use the modern day definition of karma, when something bad happens we think. “that happened because I deserved it.” We rationalize it and learn no thing. Karma is that feeling that will not be quelled.
Welcome moments that shift us into the state of neutral, the ones that cannot be rationalized away, so that we can be healed, or turn us around from the habitual unconscious states of mind, so that we can “remember.”
The yogin of the past were feared because they were rebels of society and welcomed the discomfort that the rest of us averse. They took the path less traveled.
While we are still impure, with all of our agendas, and in the moments where we are not living in the neutral space of everything else, life should be uncomfortable. If it is comfortable than it is habitual and nothing will be shown to you about who you are.
We do not need to change anything externally just our point of view. To see clearly life working through us. Live not for comfort or attachment, let go of agenda, and simply notice the space between.
The people and things that we bring comfort to. The warm bed that when we place our bodies on we give purpose and definition too. The cup of tea that feels our fingers interlace around-holding its warmth inside, and the warm body that finds grounding and solace from our embrace.