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Friday, October 23, 2009

Mapping the Practice

I bow to a pop art Buddha. He greets me as I top the stairs and again when I enter my bedroom. He is brother to the hand carved wooden Buddha from Kathmandu and our Ho Tai garden Buddha. The trifecta of Buddha energy and love. They are subtle daily reminders. How close am I to the Path today? Am I parallel by inches or miles or do I intersect it at a right angle? Am I on it? Can I even see it?

Being a parent is another, though less subtle, compass to locating the Path. What comes up in the course of a day, guiding these fresh, as-of-yet-uncontaminated minds & hearts, often touches on lessons with which I’m still grappling. The spiritual practice of parenting is both the most challenging and satisfying on my path thus far. It has the potential of bringing out the best and worst in my personality, and with each breath I make a choice. My children are my greatest teachers and I am their humble student.

My first Yoga teacher once told me, when I was lamenting a lost opportunity, that we have unlimited “do-overs.” This simple statement did not excuse past behavior, nor did it encourage future lethargy. It did, however, remind me to fully make the most of the opportunities of now. So, when I fall or take an unfortunate action, I know I can take another breath and make a better choice.

The effort comes in living more days on or near the Path, than not. Some days I spot the Path and wink, like we have a secret understanding of the nature of our relationship. I am devoted, curious and deeply moved by these practices of mindfulness even though I sometimes travel, temporarily, in another direction. I always go back. It seems I’m going back more frequently and for longer durations.

I am so grateful to be on the mat!

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