This I Believe: Yoga, Motorcycles, and Lobsong

On April 29th, 2012, Sandy Currier discussed his beliefs at at First Parish in Bedford, part of a long lived tradition: This I Believe.

I tend to collect quotes, or mantras. I usually pick a few at a time - or perhaps they pick me. Like a pair of stones in one's pocket, I like turning them over again and again, inspecting the reflections of life in the words. "A Gift from the Universe" by a different Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

So here is my most recent pair - they have stuck around for a while now since my yoga practice took a deeper twist a few years back (pun). They have reflected back many tears of pain and bliss and to me they have yet to lose their shine. They are:

The ABCs of living begin with Alignment, Balance, and Compassion.
Be the change you want to see in the world.

I believe that A is for alignment, and in particular alignment with the Divine. This is about aligning the day to day tactics with a long term strategy. It is alignment with that which greatly outlasts this human physical form we rent, our physical desires, or our planet. Plan A is for alignment.

Yoga is about alignment. But for me yoga is more about inner alignement, the inner meditation, than about outward alignment, the physical asana. For instance, if one focuses only on the legs when in a standing pose, then the pose will be less then what it could be. When in a handstand, forgetting the legs leads quickly to imbalance. The real focus, the real desire needs to be of greater scope then the immediate need, the immediate desire. It can be tricky at times. And yoga is not yoga if is stays on the mat.

Plan C is for compassion. Compassion is the alignment with the Divine as experienced or manifested. It is love made manifest - love in action. Isn't the word manifest interesting - to make real, to actualize, to bring into existence.

Lobsong is my Tibetan Buddhist teacher. The compassion of Buddhism helps me understand everything from the Standard Theory of physics to why I earn money for other people to spend (pun). If someone asks me for the answer of the meaning of life, I now generally say love even though my iPhone generally says something else.

And finally to plan B - for me B stands for Balance. In yoga, there is a concept called spanda, which refers to a pulsation or an ebb and flow. Life is change - there are many ebbs and flows. We get hungry, we get full. We may feel loved, we may feel not so loved. But I believe that by simply remembering and understanding that this physical realm is grounded in the ebb and flow, one steps towards balance and into greater alignement and compassion. The happy Buddha smiles at both the bitterness and sweetness.

So why Yoga, Motorcycles, and Lobsong?

Well, Buddhism is my current guidebook to compassion. Plan C. Yoga is my current guidebook for alignment - take it off the mat.

And what about motorcycles? Maybe a black Ducati Monster? Well, that's how I practice the art of balance with a Buddha smile. Lean into the twisties as they come up to greet you, no matter how fast or slow. And glide on through. Sometimes Plan B is the most fun.

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