|Can I talk with my hands during a|
silent retreat? Please!?
I had taught a practice teach earlier this year centering around the word inquiry, but I have returned to it as of late. In my class, I had focused the idea of inquiry around the movement, inviting the students to make each pose an exploration of the posture. However, I'm beginning to realize more and more than the idea of inquiry can be applied to many aspects of my life...
One of the inquiries that I will be forced to make quite soon is being silent for an extended period of time. I am going up to Kripalu Center in the Berkshires for a graduation celebration for my teacher training. (Yay! Expect picture posts on my twitter @yogajoyce). There is to be a half day of silent retreat. Silent! I am a real chatterbox, so I really don't know how it will go. In fact, I am quite apprehensive. I would be freaking out, but I keep telling myself to relax, it's just an inquiry. I can inquire how it feels for 5 minutes, and then explore 5 minutes more, and then probe 5 minutes more...and it'll be totally okay, right guys!? And really half a day is nothing, there are people who go to ten day silent retreats and they live.
The idea of using inquiry to ease into new experiences is seeping into my life in a lot of ways. For example, I love eating meat. I like to joke that I am an obligate carnivore. One of my favorite foods is bacon wrapped steak. Meat + Me = BFFs. But, eating meat is really not in line with my ethics; it is particularly not in line with my political beliefs about the environment. I couldn't quit meat cold turkey (heh heh, did you see what I did there?), but I started to explore whether I could go one day a week without meat. And I found out I could! I cut down a little more, and now I only eat meat for one meal a day. I am now working on what it would feel like to cut down my daily portion of meat to a half portion. I don't think I could ever not eat meat (I get pretty anemic), but there's no reason not to explore my edge.
It's much nicer to engage with life this way. In yoga, there are poses I just would refuse to do (fish pose, I HATE FISH POSE). Now I make look into whether there is a modification I could do to try to get a feel for the pose (fish pose with a bolster or a block is ace!). My sister has a yoga teacher she really does not care for. She told me she used to just flop down in child's pose and disengage from the experience. Now she tries to think of it as an inquiry of how to stay engaged in her practice even if she doesn't love the circumstances. I am also trying to develop a seated meditation practice, starting with 1 minute and moving on from there. This is another hard one for me. I prefer meditation in movement, but I think that maybe I need this stillness more because I find it so hard to be still!
If I can make these things inquiries, why can't the rest of life be an inquiry? Ending a job, starting a job, moving somewhere new, trying out an unknown activity, getting to know a stranger...all inquiries! And, if it's just an inquiry, I can't FAIL at it. I can only learn.
What are some inquiries you have made lately?