We are all inspired in familiar ways. I am no different. Photos, books, events, real life stories, and other expected life experiences can all serve the purpose. But I’m certain that all of us have an “off-the-wall,” “I am going to keep to this to myself” method of inspiration that may not make sense to anyone else but does to you. Again, I am no different.
Take Frank Reagan. He’s the Police Commissioner in New York City on Blue Bloods each Friday night on CBS. Tom Selleck plays this “un-caped” crusader. While he can’t jump buildings or run like a speeding bullet, he can calmly and serenely run the police department in America’s biggest city, while also setting the example on how to be the best dad and grandpa to his kids…kids that also happen to have careers in New York’s justice system: attorney, detective, and street cop. He sets aside time each Sunday to have a meal with his entire family, and manages to listen, laugh, and occasionally bring a mention of faith (God) to the dinner table.
Yes, I realize that this is a TV show, and that Selleck’s Reagan is a fictional character. Nevertheless, I enjoy observing the finesse and love which he gives to every task. He is not a man of many words, but when words are required his are worthy of a universal audience…they take on a special sound: “It’s not so much what you did as it is what you do next,” “I will never have my career get in the way of my children’s ambitions,” “As the Police Commissioner, I can’t help you; as a cop, I can’t help you; but as your dad, how can I help?,” “You know me, I don’t like to share my thoughts when I haven’t got an answer,” “No, I am not going to do anything. I am going to let the process take care of it.” These are but a few of the monumental morsels that I have recalled and pondered.
Frank Reagan is not the focus of this piece – you are. For me, Frank is an inspiration. It’s this character that creates a moving spirit in me. Inspire means “in spirit.” It also is defined as those moments that bring illumination on a creative or spiritual level. I love that! When we are inspired, we are not interested in the mundane or sometimes challenging consequences that separate us from this divine connection. We are only moved and motivated by something greater that sparked a feeling of resonance within us. I suspect if Frank were real he would look something like this: wakes up with lower back pain from all those years of carrying a heavy police belt, finds it hard to eat a low cholesterol diet as he loves meat, and maybe like all of us, gets headaches, stomach aches, and heartaches. But the show doesn’t tell us that, thankfully. For me, I am left with aspirations to “see” or “behave” like Selleck’s character.
Bikram is a genius really. Day after day we practice the same postures twice. We hear the same phrases from each teacher, give or take some varying character comments. Why? Several reasons, but for purposes of this essay the one I want to allude to here is the ability to transcend the words. Over time, eventually, the words become sound. Sound for the mind to soak up, and as you progress more and more, sound for the mind to sink into. The busyness of the dialog throughout the entire 90 minutes becomes a respite for the busyness of the mind. It could be the very first time that your mind shuts off. You could say that your mind is actually still. And here’s the result: a nagging issue shows some resolution; a creative idea comes through; you are more clear and decisive; sleep is more efficient; there’s more energy to tackle a challenging project.
But there’s more and, it’s how I see Frank Reagan.
Etiquette-Yoga Etiquette. It’s another layer of your practice, another layer of your meditation. Making the choice to stay quiet in the room, to leave your belongings outside the room, to refrain from wiping the sweat or fixing your costume, to hold off on having any water in the class, to choose to move with the other students in the class, to stay in the room all 90 minutes and participate in final savasana, are all rules of the road much like road signs on the highway. Without road signs can you imagine the chaos? Our focus would remain stuck on safety and concern about where we are and where we are going. However, with signs (or road etiquette) we can broaden the focus and enjoy listening to the music on the radio and even enjoy the view outside the window as we drive. Yoga etiquette too allows us to deepen our focus as we’ve made the conscious choice to eliminate these impulsive distractions that we ourselves produce and that can disrupt our direct connection between you and you.
There are so many great authors, sages, philosophers, scientists, and spiritual teachers that tell us that we each have our own Inner Teacher and that we each have our own wise InTuition that knows what’s in our best interests, that knows our very heart’s desires. It’s the same “voice” that brought you into the hot room in the first place. Gosh, if we cultivate that connection, if we can enhance that relationship, if we practiced silencing the monkey mind more with frequent yoga practice, good yoga etiquette and daily meditation, and enriched this channel to hear and welcome the knowledge from our inner essence that “knows”, we’d detach from drama, resist resisting, and move with the flow of life, like Frank Reagan. The boundaries around what our limits are in anything become more easily interpreted. We serve a greater interest other than ourselves knowing that we are taken care of. There is complete poise in all our interactions, responding with clarity, thoughtfulness, and quickness. We are more balanced mentally and physically, never losing composure in any situation. We have the recognition to get out of the way, knowing that there is a beautiful universal process at work guiding our best interests, and making the best decisions that are good for all. Like Frank Reagan.