As a yogi, I write to understand the teachings of yoga. I write to understand, through my practices (which include writing) my Self, and myself, and how to bring these two into alignment to live my highest purpose.
The yogic texts make clear that svadhyaya, study of the teachings, is part of the path of yoga. So I study the teachings whether they come from the mouths of my teachers, other yogis, or from the ancient texts. I’ve found that passively reading or listening does not allow me to fully integrate the teaching, or how they apply to my life. So to expand my understanding, I contemplate, and then I write.
The key to the process is practice. Contemplation and writing about the teachings is a practice in and of itself, and its efficacy is dependent on other practices, like meditation, that connect myself with my Self—that deepest, or highest place within me, which I call Source. At the Source is the wisest and most heartfelt place I can access at any point in my life.
Whenever I am seeking to understand something, be it a teaching or some personal problem or issue, I consult Source. I try to seek input from that place in myself in the moment, or as a more formal contemplation. I usually meditate first to better establish a clear channel to Source, or given enough practice that channel opens up naturally. But on some level I invoke that Source place to speak to me, to help me understand. I sit quietly with the teaching or question, placing it in the field of that Source, and allow it to reverberate for a while, not thinking really, but just allowing it to be there. It’s like placing a seed into some prepared soil and allowing it to germinate.
What emerges from this process of contemplation is the tenderest of sprouts. And that’s where the writing comes in: it transplants that delicate new growth into the garden of your life, so it can then be nurtured by the elements, grow strong, and yield fruit. So to establish this increased understanding that has sprouted, I write. As I do so, I am still trying to maintain that connection to Source, and let it flow out onto the paper however it wants, without trying to edit or make sense of it.
Sometimes what comes out is a lot of crap: debris that needs to be removed or let out in some way. Sometimes what comes out is the first inklings of some new understanding that I nurture through expression. Sometimes what comes out is a wholely formed articulation, a download, like a gift from my Self to myself to guide me (and others I share my work with) to what I next need to do or know.
When you place something into this most sacred Source place inside yourself, allow it to reverberate there, then bring it fully up to the surface of yourself through writing and language, you have begun a process of integration like no other. In the case of a spiritual teaching, honoring it by bringing your full awareness to it with this contemplative process, allows it to imbue your being with its wisdom. (Though I must acknowledge here that it may also allow you to undertand that it does not resonate with you at all).
And this new spark of knowledge is now imbued with you, who you are at that source place, as you bring it out of yourself onto the page. In this way the teaching becomes your own, better understood, and more applicable to your life. Should you then share your writing, it becomes a unique expression of a teaching that could very well reverberate with others who need to hear it.
Cindy Lusk is a longtime yoga practitioner and teacher, who teaches not only yoga postures (asana), but also meditation and yoga philosophy to inquisitive and serious seekers of the key teachings of yoga. She is also an Authorized Teacher of Neelakantha Meditation. Cindy is currently writing a book based on what she teaches in one of her in-depth yoga philosophy courses. She also plans to start working on a memoir. You can find her over at Live Your Yoga, cindylusk.com.