Friday, February 26, 2021

Bringing Yoga to Life - Chapter 11 - Effort and Surrender


Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living 
By: Donna Farhi

Chapter 11: Effort and Surrender 

In this chapter Donna gives many great examples of the balance of effort and surrender. Life in itself is a balance...A fine balance..our bodies, our families, our ecosystems, etc.
A life lived in balance is not an easy endeavor and starting a yoga practice, or anything new will at first throw off whatever sort of balance we thought was there as it will take an effort. 

According to Patanjali (translation from Edwin  Bryant's -The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
Sutra 1.2: Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of mind
Sutra 1.3: When that is accomplished, the seer abides in its own true nature.
Seems easy:)
but sometimes
Sutra 1.4: the seer is absorbed in the changing states of the mind.
Sutra 1.5: There are 5 kinds of changing states of mind, and they are either detrimental or non detrimental (to the practice of yoga).
Sutra 1.12: The vrtti states of mind are stilled by practice and dispassion.  
To me this means Effort and Surrender
Sutra 1.13: Practice is the effort to be fixed in concentrating the mind.
Sutra: 1.14: Practice becomes firmly established when it has been cultivated uninterruptedly and with devotion over a prolonged period of time.
Sutra 1.15: Dispassion is the controlled consciousness of one who is without craving for sense objects, whether these are actually perceived, or described.

So right off we know that the path of yoga will take not only Effortful effort, also a large amount and willingness to let go. Donna writes,"No matter how clever we are, we cannot leapfrog over this initial period in which we may be all fingers and toes. In the long term view of life practice we must still use effort, but our effort will be of a different kind." After that initial period of effort, "we can accomplish nothing more through effort. Through effort we come to step into a stream that can carry us.When we begin to let this current carry us, gradually the person who is making the effort needs to take a backseat. At this juncture we spontaneously shift from an 'effort to be' to effortless being."

In Anthony DeMello's book, The Way To Love, he writes on effort.  He writes,"Effort can change behavior, it can not change you.  Think of this: Effort can put food in your mouth, it cannot produce an appetite;it can keep you in bed, it cannot produce sleep; effort can perform acts of service, it is powerless to produce love or holiness." Change is only brought about by awareness and understanding.

I don't like to just re write what the author has written much better then I can. I highly recommend reading this book.  I'll end with one last bit..that I think sums up effort and surrender for those that know the asana Savasana. "Now look back at the times when your practice of Savasana was deep and refreshing. If you have ever carefully made note of this, you may have seen a connection to the effort during the practice that preceded Savasana."  "If the mind has been exercised through one-pointed concentration throughout the practice, the mind then readily welcomes the opportunity to take a backseat." "Here we can see that effort and surrender are mutually dependent states."

Wishing you that effortless effort that yoga can bring to our lives.
CIYT, Level 3 

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