Yoga requires complete body-and-soul honesty. What can I do today? What can’t I do? Can I push a little further, or should I dial a little back? Am I trying to prove something to someone? Should I prove something to myself today?
There was a man who lived in a small, cozy cabin at the base of a great mountain. The cabin was surrounded by bountiful little gardens that the man had only tended minimally over the years. He was never hungry, and the crops usually produced so much that the man had plenty to share. The man was very comfortable in his cabin, except for the half of the day that the mountain would block the sun. Still, the man and the plants would carry on waiting patiently, for they knew that the sun would arrive later to drench them in warm, nurturing brightness.
One day while he waited for the sun, the man thought to himself, “Why do I live in darkness here for half the day when there is so much land available elsewhere? Why am I satisfied with my crops when their yield is stunted by this sunshine-stealing mountain?” Determined, the man began taking his books off his shelves and packing them away in moving boxes. The man continued packing for hours– that is, until the day’s first sunbeam broke over the mountain.
“Look at the light cascading over the valley. Why do I take what I have for granted?” the man mumbled as he unpacked his things, setting them carefully back in their places. “Why do I risk losing what I’ve got when I’ve seen what happens to others who have so little?” He sat back down into his favourite chair and gazed out the window.
The next day, before the sun, the man grew frustrated again. “How can I allow myself to stay here, blanketed in darkness? For these boring crops? For this tiny cabin? I would rather live in a tent in the sun eating dirt than stay here in this darkened cabin for another second.” But once the sun came out, the man again recanted, “How unrealistic. How impulsive.”
The man lived this way for years– packing, unpacking: loathing, loving– until one day there came a knock at his door. There on the front step stood one of the man’s bean plants, its wispy tendrils crossed sternly over its stalk. “Enough is enough. We’re getting out of here.” the bean plant told him plainly.
“Calm down, Beany, you know just as well as I do that the sun will be here soon.” the man sighed as he tried to close the door. Beany had planted her roots firmly in the doorway.
“I can’t wait like this anymore. Bean plants my age are supposed to be twice as tall as I am. They’re supposed to have flowers and aphids and ladybugs.” insisted Beany.
“You don’t want aphids.” said the man.
“I want to go through everything a young bean plant needs to go through to become a mighty beanstalk. Take me somewhere, let me grow.” pleaded Beany, her leaves trembling.
“Very few bean plants grow into mighty beanstalks, Beany.” explained the man as he tried to unwind Beany’s shoots from around the doorknob.
“You can’t tell me that I’ll never be a beanstalk. You’ve never seen what I can do!” Beany cried as more windy tendrils burst out of her. The tendrils began to coil tighter around the doorknob, then the bookshelves, then the man’s favourite chair.
“Now, stop that!” shouted the man as he ran from the house. “Careful with my stuff!”
But Beany didn’t stop, she just sent out more and more shoots until she was completely entwined with every piece of the cabin. The man looked on helplessly from behind a rain barrel.
“Now,” boomed Beany, “watch this!” The sun broke over the mountain and Beany began to grow. The man watched as Beany’s willowy stems thickened into great green trunks. “Beany, my house!” the man called out as Beany grew 20 feet, 200 feet– grew taller than the mountain! “My favourite chair! Beany!”
“Stop complaining and start climbing.” Beany called from the clouds.