Life often dishes up comic coincidence, so it was not surprising that (many years ago) on the same day dumbo feather asked for my thoughts about integrating spiritual practice into daily life two somehow relevant things happened.
Firstly, my managing director asked me to update my CV for the board of directors. I pondered the appropriateness of including my five-year absenteeism from corporate life whilst exploring a full-time ‘career’ as a yoga teacher. Still pondering the relative merits and anomalies of my CV, I skipped out of the office to be a student in a lunchtime yoga session. At the end of the class the substitute teacher recognized me as the host of YOGA TV™ and thus came the question I’ve had many times before: “So, you don’t teach yoga anymore?” My reply, “even more so” always elicits the same perplexed look. Yoga was the earliest entrée to my quest for meaning and life purpose.
That initial curiosity developed into what I now recognize as the beginning of my spiritual quest. Since then I’ve dabbled in Buddhism, Kabbalism, meditation, psychology, mythology and even witchcraft to define my own definition of spirituality. That begs an answer to the question of what spirituality is. Definitions vary but generally come down to the recognition and desire to connect with something greater than oneself, whether it be a religious god or something other.
The truth for me is there is no one answer but certainly a lot of confusion about the interpretation of spirituality and the path it takes. It can be expressed through religious devotion, service to others, austerity, dedication, mindfulness and endless other practices. I’ve bent, stretched, meditated, fasted and punished myself along my spiritual path. But I’ve learnt that my real spiritual work is in how I deal with the daily challenges of my work life, friendships and relationship with my partner. Not to mention my relationship with my mother!
I’ve taught my students on the yoga mat that the reason we tangle ourselves up in frighteningly difficult physical postures is not so we can be flexible freaks, but so that we do not crumble in difficult situations off the mat. In the boardroom I shared the teachings of my yoga teacher with business managers and CEOs in a new language that surprisingly they seem to embrace. Bless them for never blinking an eyelid when I refer to the structure and function of the body as a microcosm for organizational dysfunction or the ‘yin and yang’ as a solution to a corporate challenge.
I’ve discovered the truth in the words of the great master of myth, Joseph Campbell, who said in the search for spiritual meaning ‘the goal is to bring the jewel back to the world, to join the two things together’. At the end of the day I submitted my updated CV – yoga years included.
This article was first published in dumbo feather … pass it on.