"This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. " ...Martin Luther King Jr.
so Martin Luther King Jr. knew a thing or two about the power of Now. He did not shy away from his spiritual duty, his dharma......he even had preminitions that it would cost him his life, but he did it anyway. The cause was too great, far greater than any one man, and when any other man would have stepped back at the sheer force of resistance he received, he instead was fed by the support and the hopes of what he referred to as "our creative protest". Why was it creative? Because it was balanced action in the truest essence.
He did not fight physical force with physical force. He met it squarely with what he referred to as "soul force". In yoga, we strive to find in our bodies, hearts and minds a balance between effort and ease, muscle energy and organic energy.........courage and steadfastness tempered with compassion and love....and that balance creates true freedom. Wouldn't you say that that balance is and expression of "soul force"?
so in my Monday night class at Garden Street Yoga, I decided to put this to the theme. I looked at the "Declaration of Independence" that Mr King referred to in his "I have a Dream" speech. He was really after this country to make good on this contract with the American People, because in 1963 when he gave this speech, all men were not treated equal. I was also playing with what is a "Demonstration of Freedom", of which Martin Luther King did so well. The difference is that one was just words written with all the best intentions but not completely put into action, and the other was a pure demonstration supplied to us in action by him. So in class, we practiced a Demonstration of True Freedom......Balanced Action.
I think True Freedom must always be tempered, or "riverbanked" with discipline. If we don't, we just have a flood of chaos. Too much discipline and Freedom dries up like a dry riverbed. So in yoga, we start with Shri....we look for the beauty in everyone...we start expansive like an ocean of Freedom. Then we temper that with Muscle Energy. We draw in the periphery of this vast ocean of freedom to the core of our soul to remember who we truly are, to tap into the True Teacher, to remember the Truth. Then, KEEPING THAT, we shine that truth back out through the periphery to be shared with all around us, without unplugging from the truth with which we found. So we played with that tonight....being a Demonstration of Freedom, being Balanced Action....and it was so beautiful to watch.....we demonstrated all the Warrior poses.....One, Two, Three, Reverse, and Apexed it off with Dying Warrior.....yeah I know....sad metaphor, but it's a great pose to really look for and find Balanced Action because most people react two ways to this pose.......one is seeing the demo and going, "no way....that looks like it hurts!".......or "no problem, I'm going to get my shoulder all the way to the floor no matter what!!".....but Balanced action and True Freedom doesn't know what the pose is going to be until it gets there and then its like a vibration of Freedom that radiates through your body to let you know that you are right at the edge....you are in Balanced Action....and you need not grasp beyond that in that moment....Just BE it!!!
It takes a lot of courage to tap into that truth. And it takes a lot of courage to shine it out the way Martin Luther King did. I refer back to the quote above: "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. " Gradualism is the the belief in or the policy of advancing toward a goal by gradual, often slow stages. The key part is "often slow stages". Martin Luther King Jr had had enough of "often slow stages". Yes, they weren't slaves anymore, but they still weren't Free. They were not treated equal. And we as a country fall into taking the tranquilizing drug of gradualism all the time....getting so caught up in our own day to day lives. And in our own day to day lives we fall prey to it too!!! I look at my own practice of yoga, and I can see that it has been often slow stages of progress!! And I know the answer to this problem that I have with my too much freedom. Discipline!!!!
So I have a dream too. I have a dream to find in myself the balance of Courage and Compassion that Martin Luther King Jr. had and nurture it in my practice everyday and BE it everyday!