I often get asked if Yoga is a spiritual practice for me and the short answer is, “yes… if by 'spiritual' you mean a PRACTICE by which I cultivate a sense of orientation and integration in my being, and in my relationships with others and the world. This sense includes deep gratitude and awe and wonder.”
I don’t consider any of these spiritual inclinations to be religious in nature and have not identified with any religious system in my adult life. I grew up in a religious family… it just didn’t take. I didn’t make some statement about it either (at the time)… I simply moved on to other subjects that interested me more… like evolutionary theory and Kung Fu.
In all seriousness, my journey into the land of awe and wonder began when I was introduced to Bruce Lee and Richard Dawkins in my early 20s. Epiphanies took on a devotional quality and I sought them out in all areas of study: science, art, friendship, romance, etc. I read voraciously then as now, and spent a lot of my personal time exploring artistic mediums of self-expression, from writing to performance art. I have never felt at a loss for meaning or purpose or looked beyond myself for these.
By the time I was 25, I was practicing Yoga nearly every day. I simply can not say why it became such an abiding interest. Any attempt would be a rationalization rather than a reason. I just…. LOVE it. One of the main reasons Yoga has stuck with me for so long is that at no point in my experience with the teachings has faith ever been required for me to progress. Do the work and progress is made. No mediums, no special talents, no belief without evidence. Just do the work with curiousity and intention.
I credit much of my clarity in practice to my training with Tony, my capital ‘T’ Teacher. Tony is the least confused person I have ever met. I have never been able to manipulate him for approval and he has never asked me to replace my own wisdom with his. He is also the only person… ever… to render me silent. He answers EVERY one of my questions clearly and without appeal to authority or Authority. Even, or even especially, when the answer is “I don’t know, kiddo.”
The teachings come through teachers… not systems. Much of what we gather about Yoga, or any other system, is predicated on having a teacher, and quality matters. One of my inspirations at the moment, Vanda Scaravelli, said, “There are no good students. Only good teachers.” I believe it because I mirror one of the finest teachers on the planet and enjoy the results in every conscious moment. I was never a good student, but I chose my Teacher wisely.
“If you have any image of what the Truth is, slay it immediately because that's not It. We must leave the entire collection of conditioned thought behind and let ourselves be led by the inner thread of silence into the unknown, beyond where all paths end, to that place where we go innocently or not at all, not once but continually.” ~Adyashanti
To view my latest Youtube vid, "When the work becomes play..." click here.