I recently saw an ad for Old Navy. The question was, “Do you have a yoga butt?”. The answer – buy the pants and then you would.
If I take the ad as a reflection of what’s in, then I need to ask myself: Do I have a yoga butt? Do I want one?
Its no news to anyone that we are a culture obsessed with our appearance. The ads that surround us testify to that fact. Though having a yoga butt may not be my personal issue I am not immune to the wish to look good.
I can laugh at this ad but at the same time know I’m part of this culture that wants to stay youthful. But the question arises: is that enough? If it is, then buy the pants or do enough yoga to have the desired objective – a yoga butt.
Still the question persists and I ask: Am I missing something? Is it enough to have an attractive body? Is this why I practice yoga? For me the answer is no, this is not enough. This last week I read a short work from Rachel Naomi Remen, Everything Has a Deep Dream. You can read the full text at the end.
She says “There is a hidden seed of greater wholeness in everyone and everything.” She encourages us to befriend life and to “uncover something that is already happening in us and around us and create conditions that enable it.”
I like this reading. She says in her few words truths that I hold dear. For me, she speaks to the deepest meaning of Yoga.
When I come to my yoga practice I am a friend to myself seeking this seed of greater wholeness. I am coming with the intent to create the conditions for ‘what already is’ to unfold. In moments of stillness, I know deep in my bones that all is with me right now, there is nothing else to get. I say this last statement not out of a hubris of self aggrandizement, but from a place I have touched occasionally that knows without thought that I am complete, fully realized, and that I could not be anything else.
Do I live in this state of awareness, enlightenment? No. The Tibetan Buddhist teachings tell me that complete enlightenment is my natural state, that I am already enlightened. The fact that I don’t experience this are the veils that cloud my vision. My “avidya”, ignorance and misperception, that fool me into thinking I’m separate, a part of the whole, not wholeness itself. So I walk the gradual path. I come to my yoga each day, I carry it with me, and I pick it up when I have dropped it and lost my way.
Do I want a yoga butt? Do I want enlightenment? Absolutely, I want it all (I’m a baby boomer)! The joke is, if I’m ever in the experience of enlightenment, there won’t be a Linda to know if she has a yoga butt.
Everything Has a Deep Dream
I’ve spent many years learning
how to fix life, only to discover
at the end of the day
that life is not broken.
There is a hidden seed of greater wholeness
in everyone and everything.
We serve life best
when we water it and befriend it.
When we listen before we act.
In befriending life,
we do not make things happen
according to our own design.
We uncover something that is already happening
in us and around us and
create conditions that enable it.
Everything is moving toward its place of wholeness,
always struggling against odds.
Everything has a deep dream of itself and its fulfillment.
Rachel Naomi Remen