Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

Keep Your Dirt on the Surface

Lyrics, “Where You’re At” by Allen Stone

I keep my dirt on the surface so you don’t gotta dig
The people didn’t make me nervous, tried to hide all their sins
And I’ve got no reason to cover my tracks
The best part of learning is just loving where you’re at

So love where you’re at, yeah, love where you’re at
And keep your dirt on the surface and just love where you’re at

I wear my sins on my collar so everyone sees
And there ain’t no bother in spreading rumors about me
I ain’t no angel, but I ain’t so bad
And the best part of learning is just loving where you’re at

So love where you’re at, yeah love where you’re at
And keep your dirt on the surface and just love where you’re at
So love where you’re at, yeah love where you’re at
And keep your dirt on the surface and just love where you’re at
So love where you’re at, yeah love where you’re at
And keep your dirt on the surface and just love where you’re at
So love where you’re at, yeah love where you’re at
And keep your dirt on the surface and just love where you’re at

 

 

This song my Allen Stone really touched my heart today.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to clean surface dirt as opposed to stains and grime that have set in? The same is true for us. Emotions on the surface are easier to clean up. When we bury them, they become shame. The deeper the shame goes, the harder it is to clean up. You start to build your life around the shame. It becomes the bedrock or your existence. Every move is done in such a way as to keep that shame hidden. You start to believe that the shame is you. You defend it. You protect it. You keep it safe.  It winds its way inside like roots in soil. It becomes almost impossible to get rid of.

Better to keep the dirt on the surface. You can clean it up easy. No one can blackmail you with it. If people don’t like your dirt, they can move on. Instead of nurturing a fake version of yourself, you can learn to love yourself where you are at.  That is a place you can learn and grow from.  You can let go of the exhausting work of holding up a facade. You can be free.

Human beings have a drive for security and safety, which is often what fuels the spiritual search. This very drive for security and safety is what causes so much misery and confusion. Freedom is a state of complete and absolute insecurity and not knowing. So, in seeking security and safety, you actually distance yourself from the freedom you want. There is no security in freedom, at least not in the sense that we normally think of security. This is, of course, why it is so free: there’s nothing there to grab hold of-Adyashanti

Luckily, Yoga can clean up tough stains. If we allow it, it can go to the deep places where the shame and pain reside within the heart.  This stain fighter does not come without risks. When the dirt comes up, it won’t feel good.

When it starts to feel icky, you can definitely switch to a less icky version of  Yoga. Many readers have even said that they choose to go to a therapist and use their yoga just to feel good.  As long as it is coming out somewhere, do what works. For me, Yoga does the trick and it is free because I work at a Yoga studio. I digress. This isn’t about me. Or is it? LOL

Yoga can make you more or less neurotic, depending on how you use it-Rod Stryker

Yoga is a powerful tool. The Yoga Sutras even states that Yoga gives us super powers! Even if you don’t get super powers, you gain a powerful ability to focus your energies. If we are not purposefully focusing our energy, what is getting more powerful? The easiest to reach most surface level parts of ourselves.  If your dirt is way below the surface, it is not even being touched.

As we get more poses, more students, more fit, more toned, more Yoga friends, more money, more followers, more workshop requests and more tricks,  we usually get more attachment. How do you know if you are attached? If you lose any of these things, do you get sad, mad or frustrated? If you do, you have gained attachment. With attachment comes Kleshas.

5 Kleshas or obstacles  that cover or color the  heart

  • Avidya (2.4, 2.5) = spiritual forgetting, ignorance, veiling, nescience 
  • Asmita (2.6) = associated with I-ness
  • Raga (2.7) = attraction or drawing to, addiction
  • Dvesha (2.8) = aversion or pushing away, hatred 
  • Abhinivesha (2.9) = resistance to loss, fear of death of identity, desire for continuity, clinging to the life of

Swamiji Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2: 4-9

Burying our emotions and the bits of us that we feel are ugly is dvesha and abhinivesha.  Dvesha is aversion, in this case, pushing our pain and emotions away and burying them. Abhinivesha is the fear of death. In this case, we fear the death of the life and image we have worked hard to build. We fear the consequences of that death.

“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It
has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the
crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing
through the facade of pretense. It’s the
complete eradication of everything we
imagined to be true.”

Adyashanti

 

Yoga Sutras 2:1 lists Kriya Yoga as the remedy for these Kleshas.  The three components of Kriya Yoga are tapas, Svadhyaya and  Isvara pranidhana

  • tapah = accepting the purifying aspects of painful experience, purifying action, training the senses
  • svadhyaya = self-study in the context of teachings, remembrance of sacred word or mantra
  • ishvara = creative source, causal field, God, supreme Guru or teacher
  • pranidhana = practicing the presence, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice

Swamiji

 

Tapas is the act of purification or bringing the dirt to the surface. It is the acceptance that this process may not be pleasant.

Svadhyaya is studying your Yoga method of choice and using it to bring about tapas or purification.

Ishvara Pranidhana is trusting God, the process, the universe, or your soul to guide you.  As the process bears fruit, to keep attachment from occurring, you dedicate the fruit to something greater than yourself. You don’t keep it. You surrender it. You share it with others. Like a child eventually leaves home, you nurture it with dedication and devotion, than you let it go.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.

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