Thursday, July 24, 2008

Walking into a firestorm - Yoga is your shield

My last post concluded by the brief mention of the fire storm I was just about to walk into. Here is the complete episode. I finished my observation of Prashantji's class from the stairwell and walked out to see Mr. Chandru little I knew what a grave error I had committed. It now feels like he was just waiting for me to come out. He immediately pulled me aside and asked "which floor were you instructed to take class in?" and took me to his office. I was confused but overcome with intense fear. I replied "2nd floor". Then I added that the class got over at 8 instead of 830 am. "That was the wrong class" he replied.

Then came an earful on how I had committed a grave blunder by sitting on the stairwell to watch Prashantji's class. I was given a schedule and I was expected to follow the schedule. If my class was on the second floor I had no permission to observe anything from the stairwell. No one was allowed to do that. That must have been a new rule I said to myself. I had no idea as I had watched classes before with others sitting in the stairwell.

I got 30 minutes of lecture of how rules need to be followed at the Institute. It was very disarming but at the same time I realized what a blunder I had committed by not checking first with Mr. Chandru. Ignorance is as bad breaking rules. The message I got was "please take permission" if you are to do anything at the institute outside of stepping in and out of class and the 2 hours of library access. I profusely apologized and realized why these rules were necessary - they have 1800 people in the institute taking classes every week. Rules are important to be followed - I just didn't know where to find the rules. So you learn as you go.

Remarkably I handled this with grace and strength. And this was not a closed door reprimand - people outside could hear everything. To some this would be quite humiliating. The drill down didn't bother me, I had found strength from what I had learnt from the teachings of the institute. I had heard about such reprimands from others, so it was my time to learn a lesson and I did.

As I waited for my car to pick me up I cooled down with two delicious drinks of coconut water and "malai", the soft white flesh of the coconut seed. Today was a big test of what I have learnt in the last two years from practicing yoga. I think I passed it.


The Yogi

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