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[don't kid yourself]
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    > 2002





<!-- September 13, 2003 -->

Jonadon has found his purpose in life. He glows with inner peace.

He and his wife run a yoga and meditation temple here, where the rainforest meets the sea. And he leads yoga on the beach at the Cape Tribulation Beach House.

We meet at 9am on the sand under the tree with three giant branches that sweep overhead and then drop to meet the high tide. The leaves sheild us from the already hot morning sun. The sand is still cool and wet where the tide washed over it mere hours before.

We begin with Standing Mountain, our toes and fingers stretched wide, our leg, abdominal and buttock muscles engaged, our heads lifting up to the sky. We are strong and still as mountains, but relaxed. Our eyes closed, we focus inwardly on our breathing, deep, filling our lungs with the sea air, emptying them like deflating balloons.

We launch into our poses - chair pose, eagle, warrior, triangle, downward dog, cobra - all held until our muscles are shaking and all we have is our breath and our will to hold the position. Ad we return to mountain pose between each to regain our breath and our focus.

"Your physical body is meaningless. Your mind is everything. Discipline your mind and your will wins every time," Jonadon says. "Just breathe. All you have is the present. The future and the past do not exist. Focus on your breath, on your pose, on the present. Let go of pain, of fatigue, of thought."

And suddenly my arms lift a little higher. I lung a little deeper, my lungs fill a little more until I can feel the bottom of my chest fully expanded.

"Your body is your temple that houses what is really important: your mind. Take care of that temple and you will never grow old. You will remain strong and supple as long as you embrace the disciplining practice. You will become whatever you fear. Love your body and it will treat you well until it turns to dust."

My pose seems almost effortelss, though a trickle of sweat weaves its way down the side of my face. The ocean breeze cools the drop as it falls.

"Find a purpose in life," he advises, "It will make this life sentance a little more bearable. When your body returns to the ground after this test here, your being will have learned from the trials and challenges put in its path and you will be free to move on. If you've not learned," he warns jokingly, "You might return as a man. Poor blokes," he laments, "So out of touch with our intuition, our bodies, our awareness of ourselves."

He looks around at all of the "self-aware" ladies in the class and shrugs at the three men trying valiantly to push their knees down to the sand with their elbows. He sighs. "Maybe in our next lives, brothers," he offers hopefully.

We straighten our left legs out, grabbing our big toes with our left hands. Looking over my right shoulder, my right arm lifts up and over, bending to touch my left foot. Breathe. Deeper breath, and my hand moves ever closer.

"We are all spiritual," Jonadon says, lifting ever further out of his right hip. "The Dalai Lama is no more spiritual than you or I. He is just completely aware. He knows who he is and where he is and what its all about. But he only got there by meditating - clearing his mind of all the thoughts that crowd out peace and serenity. Focus on the present so that the other thoughts of the world outside this present are banished."

I hug my knees to my chest and lean back, balancing on my sit bones. I hook each big toe with my middle and index fingers and stretch my legs out in front of me, heels pressed straight. Breathe in, let it out. Separate my legs into a "V", pulling them wide, staring straight ahead, fixed on my point in the distance.

"Money doesn't matter. The phyical being doesn't matter. Take care of this vessel for your mind and you will be free - your mind and body no longer holding you a prisoner."

And my spine lifts towards the sky. I feel graceful and strong. I'm floating in that far distant point where my eyes are fixed.

The surf rolls in and over my sense. It is my breath as we settle ourselves down to the ground. My inbreath fills me with that water, making me heavy. In my outbreath, the water drains from me, melting out into the sand as my lungs and muscles sink down, flattening as the water leaves them.

The awareness of myself fills my mind. The part of me that cannot be touched is alive but relaxed. My physical body awaits its command.

"Practice more yoga," I tell it, "because my mind has a lot more life in it yet."

my journal

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