Sustaining flexibility of mind, body and attitude

Boring as . . .

2014-09-10 14.20.31“Oh don’t go all yoga on me,” he said.  “I never thought of you as boring and I really don’t want to have to start now”.  I laughed.  And stopped myself from saying what I was about to say, which was something about yoga, which would have been breaking one of my own rules.

I learned early in my fascination with yoga that trying to discuss it with someone who does not share that fascination, in fact with anyone who has not asked a specific question about yoga, is a dumb idea.  My rule?  Only talk about it if they ask. John Updike said that a healthy adult bore consumes one and a half time his own weight in other people’s patience.  Trying someone’s patience doesn’t get them interested in yoga.

Thankfully yoga isn’t a religion and there’s no holy text exhorting one to run around “bearing witness” and collecting converts.  The only witnessing a yogi needs to do is to witness the fluctuations of her own mind and emotions which is such an all-consuming task, what psychic energy is left for proselytizing?

Some of my friends are pre-yoga – friends I had before I got serious about the practice, and some of my friends are post-yoga – friends who share my enthusiasm and can blather blithely about bandhas all day long.  I laughed when my pre-yoga friend warned me off mentioning the “y” word with the most serious of put downs, i.e. it makes you boring, because one of my favorite teacher’s favorite lines is “hey, I’m a yogi, I aspire to boredom!”  If you define boredom as the capacity to sit still and do absolutely nothing for relatively long periods of time, to repeat a mantra so often that you can bore your own mind into quiet submission, then god grant me the serenity to be boring!

I love it that both meanings of the verb ‘to bore’ are useful in yoga and meditation.  To bore (as in “to weary by repetition”) the thinking mind into submission so it will sit quiet for a while, and to bore (as in “to pierce”) deeply through the layers of mind to the essence.  Having sat for hours trying to achieve both of these I understand “I aspire to be boring!”  Of course the ‘trying’ part is what has tripped me.  Meditation is not about trying, it’s about surrendering, releasing, letting the thoughts come and go without attachment.

But if I start saying stuff like that, someone is certainly going to call me boring.


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