Friday, July 15, 2011

Practice, bathtub drain stoppers, and going all the way

[Image taken from here]

In her latest post, Claudia writes about how her reading of Charles Bukowski moved her to get on the mat and do her practice on a day when she really didn't feel like practicing. Bukowski writes:

"If you're going to try, go all the way. 
Otherwise, don't even start...
All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it."

Well, I'm going to add something here: Sometimes, doing the practice is like unstopping a very stuck bathtub drain stopper! I had this experience last night. Just before I went to bed, my fiancee told me that she was taking a bath earlier that evening; after her bath, she tried to unstop the bathtub drain stopper to drain the water, but the stopper wouldn't budge: Which meant there was a large pool of stagnant bathwater sitting in the bathtub. When she told me this, I listened; but probably because I was so sleepy, the full import of what she was saying did not register in my mind. 

Sometime a couple of hours later, I got up to go to the bathroom, and saw the stopped-up bathtub for myself. And that was when it all fully clicked: Having a stopped bathtub meant that I wouldn't be able to take a shower after my practice tomorrow. Which meant that I would have to go through the rest of the day all sticky and sweaty and such. Which would really, really suck. That thought moved me to get a pair of pliers and get to work immediately unplugging the stopper right there and then, even though it was probably 1 a.m. or some such ungodly hour. After a couple of tries, the stopper wouldn't budge. And I got really, really mad, reapplied the pliers, and pulled and pulled at the stopper as if my life depended on it (in a way, it did, since my yoga practice is a very big part of my life). It probably took me about twenty minutes to half an hour of furious pulling before the stopper finally came loose, and the bright blessed sound of water draining began to fill the room... Who knew that the sound of water draining could be so beautiful? 

During that half an hour of battling the stopper, many thoughts came into my mind. Some of them were entirely petty ("Why on earth do people need to take their stupid baths, and stop up bathtubs, when they could easily have showered?!). But one though came up very strongly: "If you really want something to happen, you got to go all out, and give everything like there's no tomorrow--no, like there's no next moment, even. This is what differentiates people who get S&%t done from people who don't." 

And the same thing applies to the practice too. After I was done struggling with the bathtub, it took me a while to go back to sleep. Something in me wondered if I should just skip practice in the morning (I needed to do a super-early practice, as I had somewhere to go in the morning); but then the same "bathtub voice" came up: "If you really want to get the practice done, you got to go all out, and give everything like there's no tommorrow, like there's no next moment. Everything else is illusion, everything else is Maya. Sleep? Well, you can sleep when you're dead." And so, with that thought, I got up and did my practice. 

Yeah, I'm crazy like that. Thanks for reading this, if you made it this far :-)

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