Words that slipped out today, when I intended to be silent:
“Thank you, Kamalesh”
I’m currently up in the mountains of California doing a monthlong intensive Yoga Teacher Training Course. We are studying classical Ashtanga Yoga (8 Limbs Yoga), as written by the sage, Patanjali. This is not the K. Pathabi Jois school of Ashtanga. Just FYI.
One of the practices (that help on the road towards illumination or superconsciousness), brought up in class the other day is called Tapas. Not delicious Spanish tapas, unfortunately, but the concept of “austerity.” And one of the ways to practice austerity is to be silent.
I won’t get into the why’s, or exactly what shutting up is supposed to do, but I did it today, and it has been an interesting experience.
I noticed how much easier it is to listen to others completely, with no interruption from my own mind. I have no need to butt in my own opinions, so I am free to listen and contemplate. If something important needs to be said, I have a pen and paper.
I noticed how very little is actually essential to say, and how much can get across just from the intent of saying it. The body finds a way to get the point across.
I instructed a few classmates how to properly get into a few yoga postures without words. Instead, we mirrored one another, and words like “keep the weight equal on both sides,” or “rest the pelvis in a neutral position” became simple small demonstrations. The point was made even quicker than through words.
In a larger group, the conversation moves as quickly as our collective minds. Topics go from one to the other so quickly that it is difficult to catch up with writing. I had to choose and time my words carefully.
Looking at my notebook early on, I noticed that some of what I was writing kept beginning in “I.” As soon as I realized this, I turned outwards and asked more questions, inviting answers, rather than expounding on my own experiences.
If you’ve never tried spending the day in silence, it’s an interesting thing to try. You may learn quite a bit about your surroundings, the people around you, and even better, yourself.