Sunday, March 24, 2013

If you can...

My last two months in Mysore have been an exquisitely unfolding series of one potent experience after another, so rich and deep and infused with the sweetness of fresh mango.  Tomorrow is our last day of practice at the shala, and then there will be a mass exodus from Gokulum.  I will linger here another week or so, holding satsang with a few really remarkable human beings, continuing our studies in the yogic philosophies.  Chanting, listening, connecting.  Practicing.  I have so much to tell you about my time here, and yet, now is not quite the time... It would be like trying to talk with my mouth full.  I am relishing these last few bites in all their delicious sweetness and will give it all a moment to digest before I attempt to relay in words and images what really must be felt to be understood.  I will do my best when that time comes, for your sake, and for my own.  For now, I will leave you with a poem, one that has come up a couple of times recently - once just before I left for India, and again just recently in a course I've been taking on the Gita.  If you want to know what yoga is, and perhaps taste a bit of the sweetness I'm soaking up here in Mysore, then enjoy this as you would a fine wine, slowly, deliberately, lingering on the delicate, unfolding flavor of each sip as it rolls over your tongue...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

~Rudyard Kipling