“Do It Now” is one of the common-sense-yet-profound teachings of the great sage Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh that I’ve been blessed to encounter. I’m thinking about this phrase while sitting in the midst of my new place I’ve moved into this past week. Strewn papers, un-hung clothes, music equipment mixing perilously with my meditation prayer shawl; it’s all waiting to have something done to it, done with it. Yet I’m simply sitting here, looking at it.
I’m trying to give myself a break. The word that I went into this transition with is gentleness. How can I maintain that feeling of spacious freedom while also making sure I get things done? Sometimes it certainly feels like a battle of wills. I have my old personality aspects that assure me wholeheartedly that it’ll be ok to do it later. These are the same ones that sit around waiting for things to happen, content to follow the whims of others, not having much inclination for creativity. And then the other louder and stronger parts of me that step forward to create the life that I want for myself. The ones that pull things out of me with magnetic force as if I am simply unable to remain stagnant to the urge of continued growth and evolution.
So how do I navigate this drive when it’s coupled with malaise? I keep bringing in gentleness. Picking up the jacket on the floor beside the undone taxes spread behind the door isn’t the only way to do things. What else is it that I’m doing? Well, I’m focusing on my posture. The Kundalini system maps out the 7 energetic centres symbolically located along the spine from base to crown of head. Maintaining the alignment of the structure of the spine is pretty instrumental in understanding mind/body awareness – at least in my own experience. The more I can keep awareness of my spine – where I’m holding tension, where I’m feeling weighted down – the more I can be the person that I want to be in life. She’s the person who is creative and gentle, full of aspirations and whimsical; the one who can be concise and directive as well as the one who can be flowy and spontaneous.
The last week of my first stay at the ashram in 2010 I finished a cup of tea and tentatively set it down on my dresser. I looked at it, thinking I’d clean it later. Then I got up, tugged it off the counter by its smooth ceramic handle, and walked down the hall and up two flights of stairs to wash it right then and there. ‘Cause why not? I’d just spent the previous four months working and doing more than I have at any job I’d ever had. I learned just what it meant to create quality in my life. Yoga is a process of awareness. When I can comprehend where I’m at and truly look at it, then I know I can make cohesive decisions for the way I want my life to unfold. Do I want to sit in a room with a dirty tea cup, thinking I’ll eventually get up and wash it? Or do I want to go and wash the tea cup? Do I want to “do it now”?
I’m grateful for this teaching. The way it links me into a more expanded vision in thinking about just when that elusive ‘later’ really is. In a few hours, days, years, lifetimes? I know that I want to learn how to be in this world. I can so easily float off on philosophic internal or external rants about the meaning of life. In fact, I can even act out some of these things in my real, waking life. I’m especially grateful for the support of discrimination in this process. It’s how I know that the voice in my head telling me to pick up my jacket isn’t really coming from me, it’s coming from this fear that I should be behaving in a way that attempts to satisfy what I think others want for me. Really what I want is to spend my energy in other ways in this moment. It’s not like my room is actually that untidy and eventually, when I am good and ready, I’ll stop doing the things that I’m doing now, and I’ll pick up my jacket off the floor.
Also, I’ll do my taxes.