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What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.

 

― Hafiz, I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy

I first heard this poem years ago when my yoga teacher read it before class and again before shivasana. I was moved by its simple yet profound message then, and am moved by it still, whenever I come across it.

Clearly if these words move me so much, I must be the person who still thinks, “I have a thousand serious moves.” Even writing this, I have a rueful smile on my lips.

A regular yoga practice allows us to cultivate becoming expert observers of our minds; the patterns of thought we are mired in, the meanings we ascribe to circumstances, the beliefs we grip tenaciously. Through the consistency of returning to our mats, and “being in” our bodies, it becomes simpler to recognize we are persons with thoughts but we are not our thoughts, thus creating more space for “tripping over joy.”

We may take our yoga practice somewhat seriously, but we don’t necessarily need to take ourselves so seriously.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP
PYR Board of Directors

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