Wednesday, September 09, 2009
OMG! I've been struggling ferociously with my will, my senses since school started. Though I'm managing to handle the assignments well enough, I'm not handling anything else well...my eating is out of control, I'm not exercising, my living space is chaotic...what's going on??? A friend I spoke with the other day suggested that returning to university after 25 years of being in an academic environment amid a group of young adults 45 years younger than me requires some gentleness with myself. I'm adapting, she said, to a whole new set of behaviors and requirements and she thinks I'll return to greater balance with time...?
What's clear in any case is that I'm still not "master of my life." The lifetime process of learning to train the out-of-control senses continues. Perhaps Sri Easwaran's words will provide a platform for different behavior on this new day! I have yoga ahead and plan to stay for cardio on the elliptical. Baby steps. Here's to pursuing the "healing we took birth for!"
Even as a tortoise draws in its limbs, the wise can draw in their senses at will.
-- Bhagavad Gita
What a marvelous simile! Just imagine a tortoise being approached by a group of school children with sticks in their hands. He sees the children coming, and the command is given to the limbs, "Retire!" Immediately, the head, the tail, and the four legs withdraw into the shell. The children come; they tap on the shell with their sticks, trying to get the tortoise to come out. He is safe inside.
After the children leave and all is quiet, the tortoise ventures to stick his neck out, then his tail and legs. He continues his journey, unconcerned. He goes where he likes.
If we want to live in freedom, we must train our senses. We learn when to welcome an experience, and when to withdraw for our own safety. We become masters of our lives. Then we will be like the giant tortoise I saw at the zoo -- wandering freely while all the other animals were in cages. A notice on his back read: "I am free. Don't report me to the management."
-- Eknath Easwaran