156 Days Of Surrender: Living By Grace
My learnings as a Teacher of Mindful Living for 1 year
On 3rd August, 2020 I began the Mindful Living classes. I had no idea what I would be teaching. There was just an intense desire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. The only thing I had in mind was the topic for the first month. Know Thyself.
I was uncertain how many students would turn up for the class. For the past 5 years I had been a teacher at The Yoga Institute and getting students was not my responsibility. For the first time I had to market the classes, manage the logistics and also deliver the sessions. From being just a teacher, I had also become self-employed.
It was a shaky start. I was used to teaching courses and workshops that were well planned and structured before-hand. The 21 Days Course or the Happiness Workshop had a lesson plan set out for each day. Here I was offering monthly classes, with no structure in mind. Furthermore, I intended to cover different topics each month.
I was nervous. I had no idea how I would sustain this. My mind no longer operated from planning mode. I just couldn’t design sessions a month in advance. Like cooking fresh food, something within me said “Take one day at a time. We will design the session when it needs to be designed.”
And that is exactly what I did for 156 days. The Mindful Living classes completed 1 year in July 2021. With every session being designed 2 hours before the class, and not a single session being repeated. That is 156 * 1 hour 30 minutes of new content designed and delivered.
If you ask me, did I think I was capable of doing this when I began? I would say, no. In fact at the end of the first month I was contemplating doing the classes every alternate month. Yet, I persevered month and after month and I did it.
Just a slight correction. I didn’t do it.
And that has been my biggest learning from teaching Mindful Living for the past 1 year.
Things are happening on their own. All I need to do is trust, let go and show up.
All my life, my mind was conditioned to control and seek predictability in the future. What this experience has taught me is that life takes care of itself. All I need to do is show up.
That is how I wrote a book. All I would do is show up in front of my laptop, to write the minimum 420 words I had committed to everyday. The words would come on their own.
Showing up and allowing life to express itself has now become a way of life for me. The old ways of control, planning, strategizing and over preparation are gone forever. It is not that there is no structure in what I do. But it is gentle, not overpowering.
Scheduling the classes every Monday Wednesday Friday at 6 pm is a structure. Having a design in mind for each class is a structure. But there is greater ease with allowing the interactions to emerge. Greater spontaneity. And greater trust in what the moment brings up.
There is flow.
I have learnt that there is a natural flow of life. And there is an unnatural flow of life. Natural flow brings ease, spontaneity and creativity. It is effortless. The unnatural flow is the way of the mind — effortful, planning and doing. However in order to merge with the natural flow one needs to learn to trust life. And show up.
Another vital element of aligning to life’s natural flow, is to align to our natural essence. Every human being is distinct from another. Social conditioning tends to shape us into homogeneous blocks for economic productivity. I was shaped into a chartered accountant, while my natural flow is to teach principles of conscious living.
Having said that, we are all on our own learning journey. And every experience is valuable as it brings us closer to life’s flow. Until a time comes when we are not separate from life, but live as Life itself. Then we experience Grace. Things we never imagined happen to us. Happen through us.
I no longer take credit if someone benefits from my classes. I no longer feel burdened if someone doesn’t. I no longer feel overjoyed if there are more students. I no longer feel terribly low if there are less. I see whatever is happening as Life’s Flow. All I do is show up.
“Show up! Show up! Show up! Kitni baar repeat karega? Akhir yeh show up hai kya!?” you ask.
It means doing what you need to do in the moment. Not overdoing it and getting hyper. Not underdoing and procrastinating. Just doing what needs to be done. Doing what wants to be done through you. This applies to everything. Having a cup of tea. Going for a walk. Talking to a friend.
Like this article. I was lazing in bed on a Sunday afternoon. Then the first few lines of this article showed up. They nudged me out of the bed and got me to the laptop. And here it is.
The Mindful Living classes have given me far more than I could have imagined. A role that comes naturally to me. A community I love to engage with. And freedom to express my creativity in the service of others.
This past one year has taught me Surrender.
When I am doing what I am meant to be doing, with no attachment to outcome, the Universe acts through me.
Wait a minute. That sounds familiar. Isn’t that what Krishna told Arjuna, 5000 years back?