Sunday, August 28, 2011

SAUNDARANANDA 11.34: Exhortation to Enjoy Yourself

riraMsaa yadi te tasmaad
adhyaatme dhiiyataaM manaH
prashaantaa c' aan-avadyaa ca
n' aasty adhyaatma-samaa ratiH

- = = - - = = =
= = = = - = - =
- = = = - = = -
= = = - - = - =

Therefore if you want enjoyment,

Let your mind be directed within.

Tranquil and impeccable is enjoyment of the inner self

And there is no enjoyment to equal it.

In general I go through life paying too much attention to stuff rather than space, to people rather than solitude, to sounds rather than silence, and to what I feel I need to do rather than the truth of non-doing.

FM Alexander said in his teaching, "We only want to gain our end in the process of ordering our heads forward and up, our backs to lengthen and widen, and so on." But this is a difficult ask. In practice, as soon as I am conscious of wanting to gain an end, it is difficult for me to care too much about the process. I tend to get on with whatever I feel needs to be done, and let the chips fall where they may.

So another antidote to habitual end-gaining -- in addition to mindfulness of breathing, mindfulness of directions, mindfulness of standing, mindfulness of walking, and so on in the daily round -- is to set aside time for not gaining any end, for "learning the backward step of turning one's light and letting it shine."

This kind of backward step is what Ananda, as I hear him, is referring to in today's verse. It is also, I think, what the Alexander Teacher Walter Carrington had in mind when he said the following in one of his regular talks to trainee Alexander teachers at his training school:

"Non-doing is, above all, an attitude of mind. It's a wish. It's a decision to leave everything alone and see what goes on, see what happens. Your breathing and your circulation and your postural mechanisms are all working and taking over. The organism is functioning in its automatic way, and you are doing nothing."

"If you're going to succeed in doing nothing, you must exercise control over your thinking processes. You must really wish to do nothing. If you're thinking anxious, worried thoughts, if you're thinking exciting thoughts that are irrelevant to the situation at hand, you stir up responses in your body that are not consistent with doing nothing. It's not a matter of just not moving--that can lead to fixing or freezing--it's a matter of really leaving yourself alone and letting everything just happen and take over."

"This is what we're aiming at in an Alexander lesson, and if we're wise, and we understand, it's also what we aim at in our own practice of non-doing. It is something that requires practice. Like most other things in life, it isn't some-thing that you can achieve by simply wishing to do so, by just thinking, 'Well, I will now leave myself alone and not do anything.' Unfortunately, it doesn't work out like that. The whole process requires a lot of practice, and a lot of observation. Out of this process a tremendous lot of experience is to be gained..."

EH Johnston:
If you desire true delight, then apply your mind to the delight of the inner self ; for there is no delight like that, being as it is both tranquil and free from sin.

Linda Covill:
If you long for that bliss, then focus your mind on your inner self; unequalled is the tranquil and irreproachable bliss of the inner self.

riraMsaa (nom. sg.): f. (fr. Desid. of √ram) desire of pleasure or of sexual enjoyment , lasciviousness , lustfulness
√ram: to delight , make happy , enjoy carnally
yadi: if
te (gen. sg.): in/of you
tasmaat: ind. from that , on that account , therefore

adhyaatme (loc. sg.): mfn. own , belonging to self
dhiiyataam = 3rd pers. sg. passive imperative dhaa: to put, place ; to direct or fix the mind or attention (chintaam , manas , matim , samaadhim &c ) upon
manaH (nom. sg.): n. mind

prashaantaa (nom. sg. f.): mfn. tranquillized , calm , quiet , composed , indifferent
ca: and
an-avadyaa (nom. sg. f.): mfn. irreproachable , faultless; f. N. of an apsaras
a-vadya: " not to be praised " , blamable , low , inferior
ca: and

na: not
asti: there is
adhyaatma-samaa (nom. sg. f.): equal to that which belongs to the self
adhyaatma: mfn. own , belonging to self
sama: same , equal , similar , like , equivalent , like to or identical or homogeneous with (comp.)
ratiH (nom. sg.): f. rest , repose ; pleasure , enjoyment , delight

No comments: