As I look out of my kitchen window into the gravelled corner of my Japanese garden, I can see some green weeds growing on the gravel! Although I have put a black membrane down beneath the stone, so nothing could grow up there, it appears that something has! It must be that the wind has blown leaves that rotted down into the stone, forming a kind of earth. Then exposed to all the elements, the stones provided a perfect environment for growth… When the environment is right, there has to be growth! Yet here, in the West in particular, we never think that we first need to “prepare the ground” to create the right environment for growth, especially spiritual growth! It is, it seems, that anyone, any time, in any shape can go for it! Without the correct environment there will be no growth – no insights. We may be able to perform an Asana-position perfectly, but that is all – we may sit for hours in stillness – but that is all – no wonder so few gain real insight and experience themselves, not just interchanging what others have written and experienced. We need to use the knowledge and experiences of others as sign posts to show us the direction to create environments in which to grow and live ourselves. It is the Yamas and Niyamas which create the environment. It is the way we live and treat others! As Rumi would say. “Ride your own camel, not that of someone else!”… so that is what those weeds have taught me! Mmm, there is no such thing as mundane! Lessons are all around in everything, and every situation… for those who have “the eyes to see and the ears to hear” (as it says in the Bible).
All is clear – This kind of growth cannot be bought!
Article originally published in YOGA LIFE July 2005 Vol.36 No.7