Longing for the Golden Grail

In my early yoga teacher training years, I would often sit down with some of my ‘trainee’ friends and get into discussions about the practice. Sometimes, conversations would turn to heated discussions—like how to get a certain asana (posture) right. My best friend Martina and I could take about it on and on until we literally finish a full meal.

After one of those particular nights, my boyfriend came to join us and said casually: I don’t get it. The two of you behave as if you are looking for the golden grail when talking about postures. I just simply do my practice or I don’t.

WISE WORDS as it turns out for me these days. Those posturing and awareness play a key role in some of the awakening paths. They are just indicators, as it turns out.

Fast forward five to six years from then, I found myself in a yoga classroom talking about an important text in Yoga to students and noticed my longing. My desire. Surely, if I attain this very bit, I would have gotten the golden grail (yes, there it was, back again—the mind monsters—the chattering mind).

But I stumbled across something from the Hatha Yoga Prakikipa: anyone that is enlightened will attract animals and they will find a home on your shoulders.

So I held my eyes keenly on the horizon every time I spend time in nature—naturally not attracting birds or whatsoever.

Fast forward more to 10 years—my life had turned 180 degrees and I found myself with an instant family (husband, daughter, two adopted dogs) no longer pondering on what I want to ‘achieve’. I was busy making sure life rolls along smoothly and joyfully.

One time, I went for a walk with my dogs. It was a sunny day, early spring and I looked at the lake to let my thoughts meltdown. Suddenly, I saw this bird plunging down from a tree into the lake. It got stuck in the mud. But with its last willpower, it managed to pull itself out to the edge, where I was standing.

And began clinging to my shoe.

As you can see, it looks awful—as if ready to die.

Nevertheless, I called my daughter and she came with a box to rescue it. Bring it home first. Assess the situation and then see if we need professional help.

My dogs were patiently waiting. They somehow knew too well what it is like to be in dire straits.

After a few hours, this little pesky bird is almost unrecognizable. Sitting on my shoulders, it chirped happily and cozily as if asking to be ‘cuddled’.

We did not want to lose it. But love told us, we cannot stick together forever. And so next morning, we left it alone on our balcony and watched it fly off—happily swinging its wings again.

Three months later, the same thing happened. This time, it was my daughter who found the bird. Again seemingly a hopeless case. But within hours, like a car regenerating its own power and will to survive, the bird recovered its wings and flew again.

Long story short, there is no grail—what’s there is joy in every moment. Awake in living. Breathing. 

As Daniel Odier (Tantric Master) says: Joy occupies a central point in the search for the absolute, that is, the basis of all life. It cannot be compared with either pleasure or happiness, which depend on external factors and are perishable. Joy forms the center of all searches and is at the same time the clearest manifestation that a person has reached the harmony for which philosophy, art, or spiritual practice make him strive.

So now, I am no longer striving for perfection. Not anymore. I’m finding moments of joy. Micro practices of awareness and connection mark my days.