Practice without renunciation is avoidance. Renunciation without practice is not long-lived. Together, practice and renunciation make all our dreams possible.
Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
Day 6 – For years, I awoke and rose at 3:55 a.m., shuffled out to the porch with a half-cup of coffee and a big glass of water, and jumped around, pounding my feet and joints into their current somewhat decrepit state of present moment. I was convinced that this movement was the answer. I maintained a precarious, yet disciplined, schedule, ate small doses of food spread strategically throughout the day, and collapsed in bed at 6 p.m., ready to do it all again. And, like all things this regimen, I became too tired, hungry, and injured, to do this.
Abhyasa, practice, and vairagya, nonattachment or renunciation, work hand-in-hand. I use to believe that renunciation (nonattachment) meant I had to renounce certain things, like bread or beer or a cup of coffee or French fries or chocolate cake or missing a workout, but even as early as today, in rereading our book for a fourth time, enjoying three years of separation from the pounding I gave myself on the porch, I understand so much more. Vairagya is about the renouncing of old habits that no longer serve one, and it enriches one’s practice (abhyasa).
I, too, like Rolf, find “in the peace of the early morning…I let go of the need to do anything or be anywhere.” Learning about life, I study my movement and my stillness, so that everything becomes a practice; standing becomes a practice, walking becomes a practice, sitting or lying still becomes a practice, and dancing becomes a practice. In the stillness of purposeful, intuitive movement or the quietude of meditation, the vastness of the moment unfolds.
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