Someone posted on Facebook that she being told to have an “easy fast” (on Yom Kippur) does not work for her. “If it’s not hard, it’s not working,” she wrote.
I wonder about that. “Effortless effort” is one of my favorite aphorism by the daddy of modern Yoga, Patanjali. I really get that, that push to make us feel like we are working hard, and the excess energy that it all can be. As if I needed reminders other than fatigue, irritableness, or sore muscles, my girls CONSTANTLY tell me I talk too loudly, or move too quickly or all sorts of other helpful suggestions as I am just trying to live my life as I was taught.
Too much effort can make us too much sick, much too often. Off balance, at the very least (that might be a little foreshadow concept for hubby’s upcoming sermon…) Our organs cannot handle the level of effort that we demand. The adrenals, the spleen, liver, thyroid, you name it, all begin to suffer from this “hard work.” Not to mention JOY. Yes, I am making Joy a vital organ.
Is this a common “no pain no gain” theory? What if things were actually EASY. Not un-hard, done with EASE. Fasting, not fun, but not particularly hard. You just. Don’t. Eat. And you accept the discomfort. And you fill your mind alternately with hatred or anger or impatience, and then desire and cravings, and then confusion for the task itself, if the magical act that this tradition dictates will bear fruit the next day. Literal fruit, as anything now seems good, but the other kind of fruit as well, the result kind. The “if I do this, than that will surely happen,” kind. The DSM, that little book that helps doctors diagnosis their patients, determines that kind of mis-thought as Magical Thinking, and lists it among a set of mental disturbances. I find that very telling. We are so out of ease living under that kind of hard pressure that we can literally disrupt our brain’s functioning.
What if it were all a practice and not a test. We could perhaps work then, truly work, in the present moment, with all the questions and feelings that actually crop up as they will do. What if, that was the task at hand, to fast with ease to bring you deeper into a practice that is surely challenging.
In peace, and hope-filled gratitude,
We will not meet tomorrow, WEDNESDAY 9/23 but will meet next WEDNESDAY 9/30.
I will bring a sweet treat to share in honor of a collective sort of break fast. And my birthday.
Then we move to our long anticipated… MONDAY MORN AND WED EVE SCHEDULE!
8:15 OCTOBER 5
6:00 pm OCTOBER 7.