I recently attended a meditation workshop with Rolf Gates. He is so down-to-earth, funny, and authentic. He’s also an excellent, inspiring teacher. If you haven’t read his book, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, do so now. It’s set up as 365 meditations exploring the integration of yoga into our daily lives. He also has a new book out, Meditations on Intention and Being. I haven’t read it yet, but I have flipped through several pages and read the short essays. I am assured that this book won’t disappoint me either. It’s about taking your yoga practice deeper. Gates gives students the tools needed to “incorporate the practices of mindfulness and compassion into every aspect of life–and to effect positive changes in their everyday lives.”
I thought I would share a few of the key takeaways that I had scribbled down in my journal during the workshop. I hope you find something helpful to you and your practice. I did.
*First things first: “Everyone’s been given a portion of the world’s pain.”~Jack Kornfield
*The mind screams, the heart whispers. We have to learn how to befriend the screaming mind while learning to hear the heart’s whisper. We can trust the heart; the heart always knows the way home.
*Love really is the answer to everything. Everything. Yes, EVERYTHING.
*Awareness and compassion–two wings of the same bird.
*We are creating a better world together. We can only get better together. Advocate for kindness and generosity to go forward from here.
*The difference between a goal and an intention: “The mountain you are climbing is the goal. Your intention is the manner in which you take each step.”~Phillip Moffitt. Goals are temporary and changing. Intention (each step of the goal) hangs around a while and doesn’t change a lot. Yoga doesn’t connect us in our goals, because we each have different goals, but it does connect us in our steps, our intentions.
*Our yoga mats/meditation cushions are our training wheels. What we do on our mats is remedial yoga. What we do out in the world of our daily lives is advanced yoga. Gates said occasionally one of his students will say, “But, I really want a more advanced yoga practice.” So he advises: Go get into a relationship 🙂 Let that sink in.
*Our minds are like a glass of sand and water mixed together. Meditation settles the sand down to create clarity and clear-seeing.
*Wise effort (loosely meaning balance of effort and ease) in our bodies stills the mind. Peace in the body brings peace to the mind. And vice versa.
*Attachment (that damn human desire thing!): The way out of attachment, however it may show up in your life–addiction, obsession, an itch needing scratched–is NOT acting on it. Let it go. Definitely not easy to do. But it’s the only way out. Let it go.
*Watch your thoughts and then learn to reflect rather than react. Own your perspective, but realize we are not our thoughts.
*See differently to be differently.
*It’s courageous to actually just feel something and be with it and know it.
*And really worth repeating and my real, true, best takeaway from the day:
Love really is the answer to everything. Everything. Yes, EVERYTHING.
Author photo: My mat, my classroom for life.