Comfort vs Ease
September 23, 2014 § 4 Comments
Peter Sanson is back in town. We did his four-day intensive at Magnolia’s over the weekend and will go back for a few more practices in Berkeley tomorrow. So much driving. So much planning and co-ordinating for car rides, and navigating through rush-hour traffic, but it is all so worth it. Personally, it is illuminating to see how much one can learn by just doing a Mysore practice with the right teacher for four days in a row. I have learned so much, but the biggest lesson so far involves understanding the subtle difference between comfort and ease:
Comfort = oscillating between the buckets of pleasure and aversion, and either running to or from it. Attachment-inducing. Elements of stress – to either hold onto a state that prolongs comfort or to restore comfort. Based in physical experience, sensations.
Ease = a state of mind, an attitude brought to a situation (physical, emotional). When successfully realized, being at ease enables vairagya (non-attachment). Lowers stress. Based in self-acceptance, compassion.
You can be at ease in discomfort, and you can be perfectly comfortable but never at ease – on the mat, or off of it. You can do the entire Primary series easily, and still not challenge yourself, or you can be stuck in the first half of Primary, undergoing serious physical discomfort with ease. Brings a whole new meaning to my understanding of Sutra 2.46: “Sthira sukham asanam“.