By Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati
I went inside at Starbucks yesterday without a mask. Yes, I’m fully vaccinated. It was the 15th day after my final shot. I could smile at the barista who took my order. It was lovely! And it felt strange. I’m used to hiding, hiding my face and even hiding in my home. How long will it take before we really feel like we can come and go with ease? I’m ready!
Last Sunday, I led a meditation program with 20 people onsite. We did mask because at least one yogi said she hadn’t been vaccinated yet. We masked to protect her. Remember, my mask protects you. Because being vaccinated doesn’t mean I don’t have the virus — it only means I won’t suffer from it.
And Patanjali teaches, in the Yoga Sutras, that the suffering yet to come can and should be avoided. Of course, he wasn’t dealing with a pandemic. And he wasn’t talking about improving the world. He was talking about how you handle your mind. But this is a time to handle your mind well.
You have choices you haven’t had in a year or more. You have skills you didn’t have before. Hopefully, you’ve been doing more yoga practice, so you feel different inside your own skin than a year ago. What do you really want? Where do you want to go? What do you want to spend your time and money on?
These are big questions. Your choices affect what you do today and how you feel while doing it. More importantly, your choices affect your tomorrows. As you set your feet on a pathway back into the world, what path are you choosing? Where will this path take you? What will you attain from your efforts?
For my part, I like to follow Patanjali’s recommendation, do more yoga. [Yoga Sutras 1.22]
In the last week, I’ve been in the grocery store and the bank without a mask. It felt a little odd at first and then totally freeing. I really appreciate your question Gurudevi, “Where do you want to go?” I want to go visit yogis! I want to give hands-on adjustments, give propping, cover yogis for Shavasana and meditate with them.