Continuing my journey through Ramayana, last week I taught the theme of the unknown. I was inspired by Rama’s insistence that he, Sita and Lakshmana leave Dandaka forest to venture further into the woods, where nobody from Ayodhya would be able to find him. These parts are too familiar, he mused. We need stranger lands.
I’ve been in classes where my teacher, Noah Mazé, has taught this theme, so it was both daunting and serendipitous for me to take it on my own. Over the last several weeks, I’ve been teaching students in my class the five principles of Anusara alignment; we had done all five, plus an add-on class on balanced action, which I feel is a great way to put the five principles into perspective.
The class on the unknown followed the five principles and balanced action. In retrospect, I think I must have instinctively been reacting to the satisfaction that many regulars were feeling at having grasped — and incorporated into their practices — such difficult concepts. My life has taught me that satisfaction is often followed by a reality check. If you’re not prepared to venture back out into the wild, then the wild will find you (usually lounging on your couch).
That’s not to say one shouldn’t pause to savor what he’s learned, accomplished. In my class, we’ve been working on handstand for weeks. I’ve seen people who thought they were too old, scared or stiff to ever turn upside down on their hands clap with elation after their first attempted adho mukha vrksasana. I encourage them to to feel that power; recognize that it is in them. Then try it again.
Like Rama, we have to be aware enough of ourselves and our surroundings, to see clearly when we should stop to reap the bounty and when it’s time to move on. And when the time for moving on comes, go. Step over your fear, your reluctance, your worry, and embrace the unknown.