One of the things I often share in my classes is to trust your gut. Today, I came close to not listening to it but decided to heed that call and join in on a Jivamukti class lead by Keith Kempis, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher visiting from Sydney (who I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to practice with while I was in Sydney). Initially, I had decided I wanted to skip that class as I had just come from assisting a Yin class right before his but for some reason, I found myself hemming and hawing about it. To cut a long story short, I said that on my way to the door, if I found mat space (which was tough because it was a super full class at the Global Mala, a local yoga festival), I’d go for it.
Boy, was I glad I did And as always, what I took from the class was beyond what the asanas had to offer.
As is customary in the beginning of a Jivamukti class, the teacher gave a little dharma talk. Today he shared a story about a poor boy who offered all the had to purchase a genie who could give him everything he wanted on the condition that the genie be kept busy at all times. Once the boy had all the needed and wanted, he found it difficult to keep the genie busy and so what he did was he sent the genie up a tower, take in the surroundings and memorize every detail, and when the genie did he came down the stairs and the boy sent him up the stairs to do it again over and over. Keith likened the genie to our monkey mind, something that needs to be doing something but can be harnessed into something greater than us (or at least that’s how I took it — and these parenthetical commentaries in between bits and pieces highlight a big lesson I learned today which I will get to later!) through devotion and practice.
During the asanas, Keith took us through a nice, steady flow and after a while, he had us do the sequence on our own without him counting or giving cues. Before letting us go on our own, he said something to the effect of: you’ve done it, you know it but if you lose it somewhere along the way, don’t worry about it…you can fake it for a bit but just go with it and let your body take you there: this is what it means to lead with the heart.
And so we began.
I went through the first side in a nice steady stride, staying focused and dedicated to my intention. When it came to move to the other side, a little sliver of self-doubt crept in, much like the parentheses I tend to insert in between statements when I write. When that voice that asked me “are you sure this is next?” whispered so stealthily in my mind, I felt frozen and panicked. Then I remembered what Keith said: just go with what your heart knows.
And I did.
The monkey mind is a really tricky, sneaky thing. If we let it take charge instead of the other way around, we end up running around in circles and taking ourselves away from the peace and equanitmity that is possible. Self doubt, and it’s friends fear, anger, criticism, envy further let this monkey jump around and get restless. On the other hand, devotion, non-attachment, acceptance, surrender, and trust aremind the monkey that it is okay to settle down and just be.
And so today I thank that little sliver of self doubt that crept in because it reminded me that I can trust myself — be it my heart, my gut, my intution — because the Divine in me knows what it needs.