While we were releasing into savasana during tonight’s class in Westfield, D. read from Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, MY STROKE OF INSIGHT. I remembered the video I’d seen some time ago and the awe and maybe a little jealousy that I’d felt at Dr. Taylor’s experience. D. commented that the section she read to us reminded her of her experience in corpse pose: the way body boundaries disappear and sometimes it feels as if the body itself disappears as we recognize ourselves as magnificent bundles of energy.
After all, nirvana is what we are after isn’t it? Or is it? Nirvana is a term that floats around in the pop culture and we know that we should be achieving it at yoga class BUT…..do we really expect to ever experience it? Have you ever thought, maybe it’s just too darn much effort and trouble. It’s easier – safer – to simply stick to the practice of asana or some non-taxing meditation practice.
It’s not like we actually know anyone who has ever experienced nirvana anyway. I mean, sure, we’ve read STORIES about some extreme individuals in India, Tibet, or Japan, but c’mon, but this is the 21st century and we’re too busy checking our Twitter updates to have time for nirvana.
The ancient sage, Patanjali writes, in Yoga Sutra III.43:
bahirrakalpita vrttimahavideha tatah prakasavaranaksayah
When outside things no longer condition mental activity, the veil over the light of understanding is rent asunder and a state of liberation appears. (trans. Bouanchaud)
How much of your activity is driven by mental chatter or sensory stimuli? Can you cut through the crap, so to speak? What would it take? If you did, would find nirvana…or some other state?
I invite you to watch the video from TED and ask yourself if nirvana is the goal of your practice. Or is it performance as we postulated earlier. Is there any difference?