"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Theresa hit it right on with this quote, quite obviously the woman was a Saint. It is applicable to so many situations! Recently, I've been thinking alot about this quote, which is one of my favorites and also about that Miley Cyrus song 'the climb'. I've come to realize that it's not about getting anywhere, it's about the journey there. It's not about 'what's waiting on the other side, it's the climb...'.
For a while I went through a phase in my Yoga practice where I was too hard on myself (classic high Vata). I kept injuring myself because I was trying to get somewhere that I was not ready to go to. I felt I had to be able to go deeper into a pose, be able to do the full pose, push my flexibility to the limits. And then I hit a major downward spiral...literally...I fell, hit my head and had a serious concussion and injury. This was a forced slow down which meant my practice became strange variations of would be Asanas. Although, I am still working back from my injury, I have really changed my attitude towards what it means to practice Yoga. Instead of practicing with rigidity and harshness I have to come find a place of love for wherever I am in my practice. I no longer look to do great things with my Asanas but rather small feats with great love. Of course, working in this manner has brought me deeper into, not only my practice, but my attitude teaching and the ability to become more sthambhana or grounded. Being a high Vata person this is quite a feat! To find great love in the small things of my practice has allowed me to reach depths where the light bulb finally turned on in my practice and also to understand better other people and their ailments/pains. The best compliment I received was by a student of mine with decades of pain/surgeries, who told me I was really good at teaching because I could understand about people's limitations and assist them in modifying. The most gratifying thing I have ever experienced in my life is to truly be able to help someone, watching them walk out a little straighter and a little taller than when they first came in. Wow finally a glimpse of a purpose for walking this earth!
Doing no great things but small things with love can be equated to simply saying it's not what you do but how you do it. It's not about that other side of the mountain but rather, how you got to that other side. This should be an every day life practice, the how of doing instead of the what of doing. The being present in every action. I would then propose that when we are present in an action we are providing that action with love.
I didn't realize that the strength, stability, sthambhana came from the how and not the what. That small things with great love have more strength than the what we do.
The trials and tribulations, successes and setbacks, the learning that happened on the journey. And I suppose one day when we wake up to that place of 'there' we will realize that it all happened as it should. Had we done it without the small things with great love would we really ever end up 'there'?