I was laying on my back, feet on the ground, hips in the air, rolled back on the top of my head, gazing to the right. I think the English name for it was the tire.
For some passerby the pose probably looked harmless enough, dare I say easy. But the teacher took us through several small movements and adjustments to get us there. And I was pretty sure that one stray move would snap by neck.
Any seasoned yogi will tell you to zone out of life and only think about your breathing during your practice. Yet, in the stillness of my tire pose I was stuck on these five simple words: how you get there matters; because, quite literally, any other way into this pose would have been disastrous and dangerous.
I’ve been in seminary a whopping two months. And I can’t escape this realization. Over and over again I find myself in conversations, lectures, readings, and now even yoga poses, where I’m reminded that how you get there matters: whether it’s about racial reconciliation or homosexuality or atonement or interfaith dialogue or media or politics.
The process of becoming matters. The history matters. No idea, no people group, no theory exists without context, without scars, without a weathered story of its own. The people, the words, and the situations of history have created the contemporary realities we live and think inside and I’m just plain stupid to dismiss (or ignore) the history of these narratives.
I’d prefer to move forward, to lean into the complexity of the world, and go somewhere with it. Immediately. Right away. Too quickly. Now. I get antsy and impatient. And I think I get bored.
But in so many ways seminary is teaching me that how we’ve gotten to this moment matters. And how we get to the next moment matters, too. Otherwise we risk ending up with strained necks and fragmented, decontextualized solutions that won’t mean anything to anyone.