There I was in yoga class, somewhere between stretching the side body and wanting to skip everything and just go into deep relaxation, when I had this strange feeling. Part of it was a muscle spasm revving up right around my left lung, which has allowed me to see some of this town’s finest emergency rooms. Why a muscle spasm now, at the most relaxing place on earth?
Because I was having (cue momentous echo effect) deep thoughts.
My main deep thought was I’m just so tired. This wasn’t the kind of tired like, Oh, I have to do my raja yoga homework, memorize the proper instruction for shoulderstand, and holy shanthi I overdosed the diabetic cat with insulin and she’s going into hypoglycemic shock. No, this was another kind of tired, the type where you’ve been doing something for, oh, about thirty years or so.
The thing I realized was so exhausting, and that was causing my intercostal muscles to grip into little fists, was this: I’m so tired of trying to make a name for myself. I would love to be a rich, famous author–who also happens to be a selfless yoga instructor–but this is just wearing me the heck out. This isn’t even what I got into writing for. I started writing because I liked it. Then I found out I could get paid to do it. This nearly blew all three parts of my yogic mind.
Meet The 3 Parts of the Mind!
Manas: sensory mind, the one that says, “I smell something nice.”
Buddhi: discriminating mind. “That smell is pizza.”
Ahamkara: the ego. “Pizza? I love pizza! Gimme pizza! Now!!”
Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of loving what I do, and I started loving what I got. Now, nowhere in my yoga manual does it say that one must do without money, unless one has taken vows of sannyas to become a monk. Even then, one must be provided for, with food, spiritual scriptures, and a wardrobe in lovely shades of tangerine.
For those of us who are still interested in being of this world and seeing The Hunger Games on Friday, there is work to be done and money to be made. If one is so blessed by the gods to have found a vocation one loves that also pays enough to buy movie tickets, some pizza, and maybe even a decent pair of yoga pants, then one should do a puja (worship service) of gratitude to one’s deity of choice (there are thousands; mine is the namesake Goddess, Saraswati).
But yoga has begun clearing my pizza-discerning and -loving mind and has planted the seed that working solely for money, power, and prestige is not going to get me enlightened. Or happy. In fact, it’s just going to wear me the halasana out. And give me muscle spasms.
So, I’m sorry, unholy pursuits, but I’m really tired of chasing your collective proverbial asanas.
Hmmm… I feel better already. Does this mean I can have some pizza?
Thanks to the Swami Shivapadananda website for the cool ego photo.