These are my personal notes from the Tuesday April 17, 2014 Venice Class entitled Just Exhale and Relax. Read on and enjoy!
Erich: Are you ready?
So, I want to clarify something, if I may. It shouldn’t take me that long. I was getting into this the other day, on Tuesday. I talk about this all the time. But, I want to refresh it, so that it is clear and simple, so that the rest of the time, during the day when you notice that you are wherever you are, that even then you do Yoga, you practice Yoga.
Yoga is something you do all the time, remember.
“All the time” simply means the new Now that you find yourself in. You are always in the new Now. You will always BE in the new Now. The only place you can do Yoga is in the new Now you find yourself in. Even with the best New Year’s resolutions, you will not be able to do it in the future. You know what I mean?
And so, your Yoga practice is all about, “What are you doing now? What are you doing now? What are you doing now?” The main practices should help you keep acknowledging that.
The main practice is . . . The easiest way to think of it is just exhale, and just pause.
There are different ways of talking about it. I call it the Conscious Pause. It is also referred to as the Holy Instant, or the Sacred Pause. Just do it a lot. Do it a lot! Just pause… and be conscious of the new Now that you are in. And when you are consciously conscious of the new Now that you are in, you will find yourself able to be in the New Now with a little less of your usual agenda — which means, less thinking. When there is less of your usual agenda in your new Now experience, you will find yourself having a little clearer experience of the new Now that you are in.
The insight is “Wow, there is way more going on here than we are usually hip to.” In fact, “Wow, we are in the middle of the Awesome Movement of Life. Wow! Everything that you see is God-expressed, really. Really, really, really, really.” But, most of the time, we are thinking it is something else!
Even if you have had many clear moments of, “Wow, everything is God in infinite self-expression, really,” there is such a habit of just trying to make it through your day, and pay the rent, and do the stuff you have to do, that there is usually not enough conscious acknowledgement of what is really going on.
And yet, if there was more conscious acknowledgement of what was really going on, I think you would find that paying the rent was a little easier, and you would be a little more inspired in your life, because you are dealing with what is really there to be dealt with more accurately. You are not just tripping in your mind all the time.
And so, the trick is, do this 10 million times in a day, whenever it occurs to you. WHEN IT OCCURS TO YOU is the EXACT MOMENT when you should do it. When it occurs to you, just exhale… Just exhale and relax. Release tension out of your experience.
That is one thing: Relax.
The other main thing is: Be attentive to what’s in your experience with a little more curiosity than normal, in order to perceive it as though it actually were what it actually is! The All in infinitely specific self-expression. Everything becomes more meaningful.
So, the main homework is: Do the Conscious Pause a lot. Practice the Holy Instant a lot. Exhale. Mentally silent-mind it for a moment. Relax your concerns. In the same way that you relax your body, relax your concerns, your fears. Because when you do, you won’t get slammed. Instead, new insight starts flowing in! You will then find yourself knowing what to do a little more skillfully than a moment ago. And then the next new Now that you find yourself in, you will be in it a little more skillfully. And the more you do it, the better you get at it.
This is sort of easy. Just, when it occurs to you, just relax… and listen. Pay attention. Think less. Do that 10,000 times a day.
And, again, “when it occurs to you” is the EXACT MOMENT to do it. If it occurs to you and you think, “Yes, I will do that later,” yes, that’s good. That’s good. Do it later, yes. But, you know, later — when it occurs to you again — it will still just be the new Now. That is when you have to do it. There is such a habit of putting things off. You know, for an entire lifetime we are just putting things off. And the whole time you have been in the Eternal New Now. Increasingly, it is, “Oh wow, I am always and only in the Eternal new Now!”
And so, the main practice is relax. Practice the holy instant. Practice the conscious pause. Assume there is more going on than you are cognizant of at the moment, and then be curious about what it is. And with whoever is in your experience, read it as, “Oh wow, these are the people that are supposed to be in my experience!” Rather than, “Yes” to this person, “no” to that person. Yes. No. No. Yes, and being selective about things. Everyone feels it. You feel it.
If you are not participating with whoever is in your experience, then you are, in effect, isolating yourself. And if you isolate yourself, then, yes, you will feel alone. You will feel shrunk, held, deprived, hungry. And, especially if you have had moments of expansion, then — when you shrink again — you will feel worse than you used to feel. You are likely to think, “What’s the deal? I’ve been doing all this practice and now I’m feeling worse than I used to feel.” But, it’s because you are noticing the contrast more.
And so, especially when you are feeling sort of crummy, let that be the clue to, “Oh, once again, just relax.” Relax your body. Relax your concerns. Breathe… and just be attentive to the new Now moment that you find yourself in. Wonder, “What IS the truth of this new Now? What IS the appropriate action now?”
You are doing something in the new Now that you are in. If you are not being attentive to the “newness” of it, then you are whitewashing it with your “oldness,” and you will have a crummier experience than you could be having.
So, this is simple. I mean, the thought on that was just, “Pause. Holy instant. Relax a lot.”
The other main practice, remember, is MEDITATE at some point every day. At some point every day sit down and meditate. Be attentive for your time, whether it is at night, or whether it is in the morning, or whether it is several times a day. Try and do it. More! Sit down and meditate. And don’t feel like you have to know what you are “supposed to do.” Just sit there. Relax. Struggle through it. Sort of! And then, as you are struggling through it, at a certain moment you will realize, “Oh yeah, the new Now. Oh yeah, relax. Oh yeah, relax.” Suddenly it gets really interesting! And it clears you out, so that it is then easier to flow into your next moment.
So, 1) practice the holy instant 10,000 times a day. 2) Meditate seriously for a few minutes, at least once a day. I really recommend doing it more than one time a day, but at first just getting yourself to do it once is huge.
And remember, I have been suggesting do it in bed. This is an easy way to do it. Last thing at night put 10 pillows against the wall and lean back. You do not have to sit like Buddha, just lean back like Buddha! Buddha did it laying back. He definitely did it lying down. He definitely did it face down. Just get in bed, lean back with a bunch of pillows, relax, and be happy you are about to dive under the covers. At the right moment you will know, just dive under the covers. Then, in the morning, sit up in bed again and lean back into the pillows. You will be half-asleep. It is nice sitting there half-asleep, waking up slowly. I like waking up half an hour before the alarm now, and instead of waiting for the alarm to go off, I’ll just sit up and lean back against the wall until the alarm goes off.
It’s nice! It’s relaxing. It is comfortable. And if you do it in bed, wow, you will have meditated twice in a day. Easy. And then at some point, do an official one. Sit on your zafu. Sit like Buddha did, some of the time, because yes, you want to do it like that some of the time. It is nice sitting erect. You don’t have to sit in Lotus, but it is nice. I hurt my knee years ago and I couldn’t do Lotus for about a year, and I missed it! Sitting in Lotus doesn’t make you more enlightened, but there is something cool about just tying your legs and parking.
So, even though it doesn’t confer great benefit, I think it is worth trying to get Lotus. Sit on the floor more at home. Do Pigeon a lot. Do the little hip openers. Sit in Half-Lotus a lot, is usually the best practice. Do your stiff leg too. And when you are watching TV, sit around like this a lot. Sit around in Pigeon a lot. Lie around in the Sphinx.
So, 1) practice the holy instant 10,000 times — simply consciously acknowledge the new Now you are in and remind yourself to relax. Just tune-in. Wonder to yourself, “What is the truth of this new now moment, really?”
2) Meditate a) in bed AM and PM, and b) on the zafu.
And then 3) do a nice, gentle asana practice, or whatever level of asana practice you like.
My personal practice has been gentle lately. It used to be really hard. My classes used to be really hard. But, gentle is nice. “Hard” is over-rated, unless you are 15 and it’s just super easy.
Do your practice at a level you like. Do a nice practice. Push it hard some of the time, do it easy some of the time. Mostly you want to learn how to “channel” your practice. And so, listen to all your teachers. Get versed in all the alignment. Do what everybody is saying. Learn. Different teachers emphasize different things. It is nice to be exposed to different viewpoints. Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn. But, then go home and practice. And when you are at home, and when you are in here, especially during the Freeform Chapter, practice what you have learned, practice what everyone has taught you, but then, especially, learn to GET INTO IT A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN YOU ALREADY ARE.
That is the practice.
Get into it a little bit more than you already are. As you keep GETTING INTO IT a little bit more than you already are — little by little by little — you will find that, yes, all the instructions that people were saying were close. Like, “Yes, that’s good, yes, they’re on the right track.” But, all the human instructions were geared toward being able to feel the energy better. Because at that point it will really start to feel like you are channeling your practice.
You want to get to the place where you are channeling it! But, you LEARN how to channel it by, first, doing what you were taught. Get good at the scales, get good at the notes, learn certain songs. But, get so good at the song that you start putting your soul into it. Learn to do your asana practice like that.
If you “get” how to do that in here where it is easy, you will find yourself going out of the room and channeling your way down the sidewalk, through the parking lot to your car, opening the car door. You know what I mean? The whole thing. It will feel like you are channeling your life. And you’ll say to yourself, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah!”
“Oh yeah” should be one of your main mantras. “Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!” Yes, it is an easy one. “Oh yeah!”
The other easy, awesome one, is, “Wow!” Just look at something and say, “Wow, wow! Wow.”
Again, the point I am trying to say is: Yoga is lifestyle, and the lifestyle that you BE is always in the new Now, and you are always doing something. Just learn to be channeling all the time. It will not feel like you are channeling an alien being. It will feel like you are just being YOU, finally, with less inhibition. And, what you are channeling is: You are letting the God, which is being you, anyway . . . You are letting the God Force gush through you without you squishing it quite so much. And so, it will not feel egotistical. It will feel the opposite of egotistical, and it will be fulfilling.
Again, totally cool. Yay! I am happy it works like that.
So, yay. I am glad you are all here. I’m glad you’re back. And so, remember, if you have never been to this class before, Chapter One is what we just did. Talking. If you ever have a question or a comment, just raise your hand. I like to dialogue.
Chapter Two, which we are just about to do, is we will Meditate for a few minutes.
Chapter Three is we will do a Guided Asana Chapter. Easy. At that point practice doing “Simon Says,” but in a cool way! So if Simon says, put your fingers like “that,” just surrender and play the game. “OK, I’ll put my fingers like that.” If Simon says, put your hands like “this,” then “OK, I surrender, I’ll play the game. I will put my hands like this.” Because, when you do Simon Says during the Guided Asana Chapter, you are being trained about alignment. But, you are also learning to put your preferences in second place, which is the trick to being able to channel all the time. Put your preferences in second place because your real preference is to not be channeling your ego, but to be channeling the Life Force.
And then, after the Guided Asana Chapter, we will do a Freeform Chapter during which I put on music. And then we can Meditate again at the end for a minute.
Nancy: I so hope this is on a tape somewhere. Is it?
Erich: Yes, it is being recorded.
Nancy: It was brilliant. I have to say, I’m sorry everybody, but…
Erich: Could you speak louder please?
Nancy: It was so great. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Erich: You are welcome. Thank you.
Yes, so we put everything up on the web page, ErichSchiffmann.com.
Go there and listen to the Talks again, and then sit down and do one of the guided meditations.
So, let’s meditate for a couple minutes, and then bend over, then Freeform, then meditate.
With Love and Pranams,
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