I went on a bike ride last night. Alone. This makes the (at least) third time recently that I’ve asked the Best to join me and have been refused. The most recent reason was that eating microwaved bratwursts in front of the television beats summer night bike rides with me. Earlier last night, before the Best arrived home, I had a chat with the Beloved. He used to awaken WAY early just to work out. We would drive to work together and then go to the gym after work. It made accountability for going to the gym way easy – in fact, mostly there wasn’t a choice in it.
However, for the last eight months things have been considerably different. Around the end of last year I took a new (far more demanding) position at the office and also the Best moved in with us in an effort to mitigate some of the karmic reflux he was receiving. These two changes alone were fairly devastating to the pattern of life my Beloved and I had worked diligently for many months prior to establish. Prior to last December, life was literally easy.
During these last eight months my daily life isn’t all to have changed. My waist size has, too. And my thighs. And my ‘nother chin. And my energy level. Blah blah blah. In fact, although I recognize a significant element of “happy” in my life (and I really AM quite happy), I definitely feel comfortable describing myself as rather “blah.”
So in my conversation yesterday with the beloved I reminded him of our “used to be” life and how I missed it. We also discussed that I would far rather come home and nap after work than I would go to the gym – despite the fact that I keep a packed gym bag in my car and am always recharging my FitBit Flex and iPod Touch. You see, most days for the duration of the day I delight in the idea of going to the gym and improving myself. And then just before leaving the office, something happens within and quite suddenly I feel my bed calling to me in a very real way.
The truth is, if the Beloved and I still drove to work together this wouldn’t be an issue – mostly because it wouldn’t be allowed to be an issue. But we don’t. He refuses to get up early as he once did (and as I currently do). I’ve begged him to arise earlier JUST enough to ride together to work (not even that he would have to work out so early, as he used to) which would eliminate the possibility of me skipping the gym, but he refuses. (He has different plans for his own fitness and is very fond of working out before our massive television to the voices coming from DVDs in the T25, P90X, and Insanity collections.)
I tried telling him that my ballooning dimensions are essentially his fault since he refuses to do this one little thing to help me, his own Beloved, in this tiny little way. He wasn’t buying it. And he shouldn’t. Years ago, I paid >$400/month for him to have personal training at this gym. We did this for many months (aka $$$$$$$$), before I finally had to tell him I wasn’t able to continue affording that luxury on his behalf. At the time, upon hearing that news, he threw a tantrum of sorts and mentioned how he needed those sessions for “accountability.” I felt guilty as hell, but it didn’t change the fact that the money simply wasn’t there. Interestingly, now that I feel I require the accountability assistance, what I’m told (by him) is that I need to suck it up and just go – that I need to just find and maintain my own willpower and motivation and just …. go to the gym.
It’s a little hurtful not to get what I’ve given, but I suppose the bigger truth is that he’s right. My ego and pain body would LOVE to recycle these thoughts and feelings and reverberate the overall “poor me – why no one helps me the way I help them?” kinda internal drama. Only ego expects to get when it’s given and the pain body lives on the whole “poor me” scenarios.
I’ve mentioned ego and the pain body, which I first learned of through Eckhart Tolle. He’s not exactly a Hindu sage, however this stuff still applies to my path as a Hindu. I’ve always known that effort on the part of the aspirant is mandatory. We might receive little nudges or boosts from our guru or from pleasant patches in our karmas, but the onus is no less on the individual to make the journey back to the Origin.
Adopting Hinduism as my path, with a Ganapatya/Shaiva focus, has really driven home this truth. From the wisdom of the Gita we’re encouraged by Krishna to not only do what we must but also not to despair because no effort is ever wasted – this is an important component in the truth that is Karma which might be for another post but definitely points to another component which is that effort is mandatory.
From the perspective of the abhyasi practice of the Sahaj Marg this couldn’t be truer. As an abhyasi, I maintain as close a relationship as is possible with the current guru of the lineage – the development of my spirituality directly relates to this. Additionally, there are other components of the Sahaj Marg path that also directly relate to my personal progression and spiritual development – much of which rests squarely on my own shoulders.
Whether we’re talking the temple or the gym, the matter at hand changes very little. I can be seeking siddhis or enlightenment or spiritual subtlety. Or I can pursue the flattest abdominals and pectoralis muscles people could dangle from. The difference is negligible and the point remains the same. I have to own my development and progression, and so do you. No one can do this for us and everything else is a lame excuse. My prayer is that we’re able to recognize when we’re fooling ourselves and that we’ll awaken into a subtle light that shows to us not only the value of seeing how meaningful our actions are, but also the clearest path for those actions.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha