A Dream Of The Teacher Of My Teachers
December 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
By Jacqueline Austin
In a dream, I am practicing with the teacher of my teachers, B. K. S. Iyengar, who brought yoga to the West. We are doing yoga in a bright, airy studio near my home, with shiny wood floors and gauze curtains at the windows.
He’s doing restoratives on hard wood props. I am, as usual, questioning and doubting, with every iteration of every pose, starting actions, then stopping in embarrassment.
He gets up, then asks me sharply, why are you delaying? He is in his 90s. Delay, he says, will not be an option.
I tell him I hate my body, I’m sick of it: I can do nothing.
He pins me with his gaze. It’s not your body that’s the issue, he says strongly.
I know it’s my mind, I start to say. But he holds up a hand, gesturing strongly, Don’t interrupt. In your body, he says, I would conduct myself quite differently than do you.
I look at the floor, ashamed to agree.
If I were an envious kind of man, I would envy your possession, he continues. That body is a perfect age. It has good capabilities.
It comes to me as a revelation, that even for him, 90 years old must be old.
Few habits which cannot be corrected, is it? he continues, With a little work.
After a moment, in which I am silent, and he reflects, he adds, so why rely on vikalpa? With your permission, I can readily check the real estate.
Sir? I say, not understanding.
Check the experience of that body from within.
I demur. I’m extremely uncomfortable with this notion. I mumble something about the proper borders.
It is another false fear, he says gently. I would not advocate such a thing to anyone who could not leave and be left — without a trace of the visitor left behind.
I take a shaky breath, let it out, then nod abruptly.
Suddenly I am looking at myself from outside. My body looks nothing like the body which confronts me daily in the mirror. It rapidly and decisively straightens up, into a perfect tadasana.
Swiftly the teacher of my teachers runs through some standing poses, exclaiming, this is wonderful! Wonderful real estate! What treasures I would not give, if I were a buyer such as yourself, to live in such a rental! Such walls! Such windows!
He looks at me through eyes I’ve previously seen only in a mirror, my entire body exuding strength, health, optimism and energetic renewal. My brown eyes gaze into… where am I? Another body? — A pillar of light.
Six months! he yells powerfully, in a voice which is mine, and not mine. That’s all I would need here! Six months! Six months of training will do it!
Suddenly I am in my body again. I feel a strange but deeply familiar openness–a kinesthetic echo of freshness.
Wonderful real estate, he says again. All it needs is a thorough cleansing.
Copyright 2011 by Jacqueline Austin. All rights reserved.