Lojong Slogan 35 ~ Don’t try to be the fastest

This is part 35 of my series on Lojong ~ A Buddhist mind training technique

This slogan asks that we slow down, take time to experience life instead of rushing for the next goal. Our society here in the west is very focused on who can do it first, the fastest and who is busiest, and we sometimes miss the journey along the way. Instead of focusing on the task in front of us or enjoying what’s happening right now our minds are jumping ahead to what comes next. This extends to our spiritual practice as well. We want to take all the courses available right now and move through the levels at lightning speed when we would likely benefit from taking some time to sit with our spirituality and absorb whatever we are striving to learn. Spirituality like many things in life, is a practice. For example, I’m a yogini, but just because I’ve ‘mastered’ downward facing dog I’m not going to stop doing it- and perfecting it a little more.

Slogan practice is about building awareness and compassion both formally as we learn about the slogans and contemplate them, but also in our daily life. It isn’t about getting somewhere, but rather being where you are and meeting others wherever they are in their journey. Acharya Judy Lief writes:

Instead of beating yourself up with the slogans, you use them as sharp but gentle reminders that awakening is immediate and available.

Let’s all try to slow down and be gentle with ourselves and others today.

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Teaching and Learning

I spent the past week teaching an elective course in Thai Yoga Massage at ICT Northumberland College for their second year massage therapy students. It was my first time teaching Thai massage so I thought I might be nervous. I loved it! I have such a passion for this work that I couldn’t help being enthusiastic about it. The students were receptive to the learning style, which is very hands on. And I felt true pride in them in the last day as they exchanged the 90 minute practice with each other. They held their posture the way I had stressed all week, their transitions were quite smooth from one pose to the next bringing about the that yoga massage “dance”. They were even receptive to my suggestions around centering and grounding and using the bhandas or locks in the body, which is not part of Thai massage, but certainly useful when giving one.
The other thing that happened this week for me is that I renewed my excitement over Thai massage. I’ve maintained a passion for it all along, but this was the excitement of something new. I began to look at it with a beginners eye again. As in my yoga practice, when I am able to look freshly at my practice again, I find myself going deeper; making the small adjustments to my own body that are needed for my comfort or safety, breathing more deeply, becoming more meditative. It’s such a wonderful gift to receive from this class. To refresh in a whole new way, to be motivated to learn more, to go deeper into my knowledge and into this journey I am on.
I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to share Thai massage and yoga philosophy over the past couple of years and I look forward to even more. Teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin and the more we share what we know the more we learn. I’ve been very fortunate to have so many opportunities in the short time since I ventured on this new path.

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