This morning after my practice I was doing some reading in the book, In Love With the World, by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. It is a wonderful book and one I recommend reading if you can.
Today though it is about those connections that always seem to pop up, as I had been listening to a podcast yesterday by Mychal Bryan with Patricia Walden. She mentioned some of her favorite volumes of Astadala Yogamala so I decided to also do a bit of reading out of Volume 7. The connecting word that popped out in both readings was the word bridge or bridging.
In Rinpoche's book he is telling the story of his personal wandering retreat. He left his monastery where as a Tibetan master led a fairly sheltered life in terms of living in the outside world. He writes about deciding to stay in a pilgrimage house for awhile and writes, "I would venture out in the morning to tentatively test the homeless life, and return in the evening. Don't be in a rush, I told myself. I will stay on this bridge for as long as I need to, becoming homeless, becoming a beggar and a sadhu, becoming familiar with this new way."
I think sometimes we are in such a rush to get from A to B, we don't see the benefit of staying on the bridge for awhile longer. We maybe get impatient or don't want to seem like we don't know something which when we think about it is impossible to go immediately from novice to expert overnight.
Mr. Iyengar would talk about the going from the known to the unknown as a way of self-development and Rinpoche writes this also saying, "This retreat was supposed to expand my edges so far beyond the boundaries of what I knew about myself that there would be no me left to feel self-conscious."
When I picked up the Astadala Yogamala - the first chapter Yoga in General - Mr. Iyengar writes, "Mind is the link or bridge between the body and soul." and "conscience acts as a bridge between the consciousness and the soul."
How do we best connect through this bridge - body to mind, mind to soul? Through this wonderful practice where we must explore and understand our own body, breath and mind.
Rinpoche writes that he traveled to Parinirvana Park and knelt in front of a reclining Buddha statue to pay his respects. He "prayed to stay connected to the timeless awareness that is the very essence of all turbulent emotions. I prayed to allow feelings of discomfort, and especially of embarrassment, to self-liberate, to let the feelings be, and to hold them within awareness. I prayed for the courage to welcome negative emotions and to try to work with them. I prayed to see the waves not as monsters or other threatening obstacles but as displays of enlightened activity that reflected the true nature of my own mind. I prayed to deepen my understanding so that I could be of more benefit to sentient beings."
I hope through your practice and study of the external world, you will gain more knowing and understanding of the internal world.
Book recommendation: In Love With the World - by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Podcast recommendation: The Mychal Bryan Podcast - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDJIDG0I6I01FXOxvQpxueQ