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“The Time Is Now” is a phrase that is used to signify the present moment. John Cena’s song “the time is now” has been released in 2017, and was written by John Cena himself.
In the wise words of Ajahn Chah, a Thai Forest meditation master:
“Practice whenever you feel like it. But, more essential, practice even when you don’t feel like it.”
Hornsberger, Whit’s work
PREFERENCE VS. PRACTICE As creatures of habit, and more especially creatures of habitual preference, we, like all living things, are conditioned by natural evolution, which drives us toward what the mind finds pleasant and repels us from what the mind finds disagreeable. To put it another way, our conditioned brains like what they enjoy and despise what they despise. And, while there is nothing inherently wrong with this conditioned way of life, when we delve deeper into the ancient wisdom traditions of Yoga and Buddhist meditation, and eventually begin to objectively observe the nature of the mind, we see clearly that it is these conditioned preferences that are the source of the mind’s unhappiness and suffering (dukkha).
These soteriological (liberation-seeking) traditions of ancient India have thus designed our spiritual journey on the yoga mat and meditation cushion to go against the stream of conditioned preferences for the purpose of finding freedom from conditions, gifting us our birthright to inhabit the mind’s innate refuge of unconditional inner peace. Nonetheless, and unsurprisingly, our yoga and meditation practice might have the opposite effect at times. Following the dictates of the mind’s conditioned wishes, we often go to the mat just when the mind feels like it, avoiding practice when the mind doesn’t feel like it, and as a consequence, the mind’s attachment and bondage to its conditioned preferences grows.
We practice when life flows well, the body feels youthful and capable, and the mind is flooded with pleasurable neurotransmitters. That is exactly what we should do. When the fundamental vicissitudes of conditioned existence start to alter, though. When life becomes difficult and things don’t go our way. The suggestion of practice is envisaged by the conditioned mind as a painful experience when the body and mind aren’t such a nice place to reside. As a consequence, we develop a dislike for our mat and cushion, causing gaps in the crucial consistency of our practice that is required for results.
As yoga and meditation practitioners, if our “practice” tends to be compatible with the mind’s conditioned desires, we should practice more often when we feel good and less frequently when life gets tough. As difficult as it may be, we must humble ourselves and admit that this is not practice, but preference. Although the stimulation of choice is perceived as pleasure when it is fulfilled, clinging to this conditioned and hence restricted attitude to practice will prevent us from ever enjoying the deepest and most transforming advantages yoga and meditation have to offer. The Sanskrit term ‘abhysa,’ commonly translated as practice, really means repetition, according to ancient yogic writings. As a result, practice is a recurring behavior that is not limited by personal taste. It’s the brave act of returning to our mats and cushions regardless of external or internal conditions, going against the flow of the conditioned mind and, as a result, getting beyond those self-limiting mind-states that are fueled by the mind’s conditioned likes and dislikes.
THE NEW FERTILE REALITY
Needless to say, we are confronting the acme of terrible circumstances, both outside and maybe inwardly inside our own brains, at this point in our collective human history and the Covid-era characterised by lockdowns, uncertainties, worries, and doubts. Although the conditioned mind would prefer to curl up in bed and binge watch Netflix till it’s all done, there has never been a more vital or powerful moment for us to undertake the inner work as practitioners.
After more than a decade of traveling and teaching throughout the globe, it has become clear to me that yoga and meditation are not merely a fad. It’s a worldwide movement with the capacity to alter the world. But, in order for such shift to occur, we must take advantage of life’s unavoidable adversities, utilizing them as fuel to grow and sustain the waking of these human hearts, both on an individual and social level. Because we discover our greatest inner powers and hence possibilities for spontaneous development and personal progress during times of crisis and turmoil. Right now, each of us has a unique chance to progress through and emerge from the Covid experience with increased resolution, resilience, and a renewed sense of purpose for the future. This is an ideal time for humanity’s collective rebirth, and the ancient yogis’ wisdom teachings have never been more pertinent.
This is the moment for all members of the worldwide yoga community to do their part for the benefit of society as a whole. Now is the moment to return to the sacred practice places we’ve made in our living rooms, hallways, and kitchens, developing the sanctuary of the heart so that we may emerge from this experience with more bravery and noble intents, igniting the change we want to see. Every time we return to our practice, particularly when the mind doesn’t want to, we are initiating and building on change.
NUMBERS OF STRENGTH
We are not alone if our practice has dwindled as a result of the present situation’s apparent bleakness. And it’s critical that we meet ourselves with wisdom and loving-kindness rather than blame for succumbing to the mind’s programming. Seeing it as knowledge and fire for waking rather than failure. We continue the heroic job of waking and expanding the body’s vital vitality each time we bravely return to the mat and cushion, while building the inherent sanctuary of awareness that prepares and readies our hearts for the inevitable changes and trials that lie ahead. And on those days when the mind refuses to practice, which will be many, we may remind the mind that we are not alone by treating it with care. That there are millions of other brave practitioners working to break free from the constraints of these situations.
May we discover collective fortitude by acknowledging that we are all in this together and that we practice for each other. Despite the fact that I return to my cushion and mat on a regular basis for my personal advantage, we do not practice just for our own benefit. My efforts will only get me so far without you and your unwavering dedication to your practice. Our unique embodied well-being is inextricably linked to one other’s, and by working together, one mindful practice at a time, we will emerge out of this experience better personally and collectively. That is something I am certain of.
To each and every one of you, a modest bow. And may you, your family, and your neighbors be secure, healthy, and at rest.
Whit Hornsberger is a student and instructor of Classical Yoga and Theravada Buddhism’s wisdom traditions.
Whit, a former athlete, discovered his calling after a career-ending knee injury and the ensuing emotional and mental anguish that comes with losing one’s (perceived) self-identity and self-worth. Whit has established a unique, spiritually scientific approach to the study of the mind and body by combining information from his degree in primatology with over 16 years of focused practice and 11 years of teaching. His daily practice and teaching methods are based on the traditional practices of Vinyasa Krama (Krishnamacharya), yin yoga, and Buddhist mindfulness meditation (Mahsi Sayadaw), and he continues to pursue his insatiable passion for truth through annual solo meditation retreats among the courageous monastics of Burma and Thailand.
Whit, a fervent supporter of traditional teachings, elucidates the ancient wisdom of these lineages in a way that is meaningful to students at all levels of the path. Whit lives in Spain and teaches worldwide classes, workshops, yoga and vipassana retreats, trainings, and online classes and courses. He is a surfer, traveler, and nature lover.
Online Meditation Training
Whit and his spouse Laura have produced an in-depth online Buddhist meditation service that includes two six-month courses that are split down into two-month sessions that are individually accessible. The guided online courses, which are suitable for all levels, are based on Mahsi Sayadaw’s respected Burmese lineage of vipassan and are accessible via the ancient Buddhist practice of dna (donation).
Visit whithornsberger.com for additional details.
Whit Hornsberger is the photographer behind this image.
Manduka EU initially published this article.
The “the time is here the time is now” is a phrase that has been used for years. It’s meaning is simple, but powerful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Did John Cena rap his theme song?
Who sang John Cena theme?
A: John Cena himself.
Who wrote the song The Time Is Now?
A: The song is a cover of a song written by Matt Nathanson, the band Hop Along.
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