Be a Star Sailor

A while back in New York, I (Martine) took a meditation workshop in which the teacher Harshada Wagner said the most remarkable thing. He was explaining that while happiness and freedom are our natural states as babies, when we mature into adulthood, both happiness and freedom require diligent practice and cultivation. 

He said, “The fruit of discipline is freedom.”

Woah.

Coming from a meditation teacher, “The fruit of discipline is freedom” makes perfect sense. The more you practice meditation, the easier it becomes to access your inner landscape, and the more spaciousness you experience inside yourself. It’s a bit like the “10,000 Hour Rule” for achievement that Malcolm Gladwell covers in his book, Outliers. The more hours you spend doing something, the better at that something you become.

For weeks, I have been carrying this talisman around with me, seeing its power in so many facets of my life: from cooking to toggling between different languages to learning to draw a neat line around my mouth with lipliner (after twenty years, I may still master this!) to doing virasana, there is no development without a dedication to and respect for process. This small-scale work done with consistency, over time, opens up new vantage points on your singular universe.

Two weeks ago in Paris, I had the chance to listen to Micheline Flak give a short presentation on the work she is doing to bring yoga and meditation to French public schools (she will be leading a variety of workshops at the Yoga Festival Paris 2012.) She explained “Avec le yoga, vous devenez cosmonaute de vos espaces intérieures” (“With yoga, you become an astronaut of your interior spaces”) and it made me so happy! Her words—though spoken in a different language, in a different country, at a different time —seemed tethered to Harshada’s in a delicate spacewalk connecting personal frontier-breaking to ancient practices.