August 26, 2011
Kosher Sutra: C B Yond (Re’eh)
Kosher Sutra: I set before you today a blessing and a curse (Deut 11:26)
It is almost impossible to know who wins the lottery. The person who has the correct numbers and receives the prize money is not always the winner. Dr Steven J Danish is a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and has spent the last 12 years counseling lottery winners who face huge problems after receiving their sudden windfall. Stories abound of how the sudden abundance of money can magnify existing problems and families descend into jealousy, arguments and self-destruction. So, we may think that we have lost by not winning, but we may well have won by ‘losing’.
There are ominous words that form our Kosher Sutra, as Moses relates the words of God: “I set before you today a blessing and a curse”. A list of blessings and curses follows, but Hasidic tradition reveals an underlying switcheroo. Likutei Torah teaches that the inner side of every expression is a blessing*.
The yogis were keen to stress the importance of non-attachment, vairagya, because it allows us ‘mastery over the mind and realization of the true self’ (Yoga Sutra 1:16). As we get into a yoga posture we focus on the actions rather than the result. It matters not if we can get into a handstand or drop into a backbend. What is important is that we commit to the action. We do not have to complete the full pose but neither are we free from refraining to start it.
Underlying everything is a sense of ultimate trust (Hebrew: Emunah) and this can be attained through non-attachment. Another way of thinking about this is the idea of process vs results. If we focus on the process, the results will take care of themselves. An actor cannot force an audience to feel something, but if they fully commit to playing the scene then the effect on the audience will take care of itself.
Think for a moment of an occasion when you’ve faced a huge disappointment but later realized that it was an unbelievable source of blessing. I was disappointed when I got waitlisted and then rejected from the universities of Cambridge AND Harvard (now that’s yichus!) but in retrospect I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m even grateful for sustaining a couple of injuries through a somewhat reckless yoga practice because it has led me to learn new forms of meditation and alignment-based asana that have totally transformed my understanding of yoga.
We cannot always see the bigger picture, but then again, our job isn’t to run the world. We just have to commit our best to each passing moment, to enjoy each breath and let the result take care of itself.
**: 28th August 2011 - JConnectLA & the Jewish Yoga Network present Ultimate Yoga Day: An experience for the body & soul. Featuring classes with Marcus, Zack Lodmer (Om Shalom Yoga) and much more!!! Click here to book online. Advance tickets: $40. On the day: $50. Only 4 places left!!!!***