What are you looking for in yoga?
You go to India, not quite sure of what you’re looking for. On your itinerary is a long list of Hindu temples, though you’re not Hindu. You just want to go there.
At one temple that did not seem more interesting or more important than any other, you cry. You don’t know why: you’re not sad, you’re not upset–in fact, you don’t feel anything. You don’t feel good or liberated or guilty or even curious about the tears.
You simply don’t have an opinion about it one way or another. It’s just something that is happening, like rain in Berlin.
So what’s going on here?
I’m a skeptic with an open mind. I only believe in things I personally experience, even if I can’t explain it. For example, I can’t explain how a car goes, but in my experience it goes when you press the gas pedal. I believe that cars go, even if I can’t tell you how.
So when yoga teachers tell me that there’s a part of me that’s not my mind, not my feelings, and not my body, I don’t believe or not believe it. This part of me that’s not mind, not body, not feelings has never been within my experience.
But at this temple in India, I accessed that part of me through the tears. The crying doesn’t come from my mind, nor does it from my feelings. The crying is not a physical reaction from my body.
There is another part of me that’s accessed in this temple, a part of me that’s not mind, body, or feeling. Some would call this soul; one of my teachers calls this karma.
I don’t know what to call this part of me or this experience. I’m just reporting on the weather.
But I do think it’s this that you’re looking for when you go to India, this part of you that’s beyond what you usually experience.
And this is also what you sometimes experience in yoga.
Have you ever experienced this part of you that’s not mind, not body, not feeling? Tell me below.
Artwork by my friend Melissa Steckbauer