I’ve just come back from a gorgeous weekend retreat learning to play the harmonium and dholak. During our percussion session, the discussion came up about how percussion can ruin a kirtan when rushed into and not played in time. Our teacher, Tom, asked “where’s the Grace?”. Of course, I have attended kirtans when this happens and its extremely jarring (to me anyway!). I have also attended kirtans where I have been utterly blown away, reduced to tears of pure joy.
So this question really struck me. How often do we miss Grace by rushing? Rushing through our meals, rushing through our yoga practice, rushing in the car, rush rush rush! We prepare a delicious meal then eat it so fast we can’t remember what it tasted like. We drive like maniacs to get somewhere on time, missing the scenery (or worse!) on the way. We rush through sex and wonder why we feel dissatisfied at the end of it. Or we rush into a headstand only to topple over in a heap and hurt our necks.
This is what yoga can teach us. How to find Grace. To see it, to feel it, to live it. Instead of throwing ourselves into a position we’ve seen on the front cover of a magazine, we slow down, find our breath, feel every sensation as we move. Whether you can stand on your head or not doesn’t matter – its whether you can find Grace in the process. And we do this by paying attention. Not grasping, not striving towards an end goal, but being present with every single breath, every single sensation, every thought, every emotion, every step of the way. And when we learn to surrender to this on our mat, we can begin to surrender to it in other areas of our lives too. Easy huh?