The view from my room in Bali, 2007
Some years ago I took a yoga retreat in Bali. To get there I flew something like 24 hours --from Vegas to Houston to Hawaii to Guam to Bali, Indonesia. We landed in the middle of the night there and were driven to Ubud, to the open air villas where we stayed. Then I collapsed into my bed in a total daze. In the morning, I opened my eyes in a new bedroom. I blinked myself awake and ventured to open the door and found myself staring into a completely foreign world. Vibrant green plants, stone sidewalks, statues of Ganesh, foreign people, smells of incense, offerings, cremation fires, motor bike fumes, new foods, new streets. All of it completely brand new... And the first thing I did was literally wander up the street with my mouth gaping wide open in a total state of amazed wonderment. Though I eventually got familiar with my surroundings, that feeling of total wonder that came from wildly expanding my world never left me.
Yoga asana and meditation practice can at times be like visiting a foreign land -- the land of my body, heart, spirit. It is a land of mysteries and new revelations -some I love, some I don't. The approach to the exploration can have huge effect on the entire experience. When I approach my practice with skepticism, a know-it-all mentality, or fear I quickly become blocked. I can't tap into the wellspring and I block my experience on the mat or cushion. On the other hand, if I come to my mat with a sense of wonder and amazement for whatever unfolds... I am opened into unknown experiences I could not possibly imagine. My body unlocks too.
As my body unlocks there is an unlocking of heart and an awakening of spirit. Thing is, Spirit delights in seeing the wonders of the world through my eyes (and your eyes), it's kind of why were here in the first place. So seeing with wonder, living in a state of wonder, cultivating a state of wonder take me to a deeper experience of the Self that is at the center of this yoga, which is precisely why we get on the mat to practice day after day.
Contemplation: What do you wonder? What does wonder feel like on your mat?