Fifteenkey

A place to indulge my narcissism... and write stuff...

Tag: meditation

Thankfully Behind the Waterfall

behind-the-waterfall“You should try meditation.” That statement is usually met with a hesitant acknowledgement, and I can tell the receiver is dismissing the idea. For most, meditation is somewhere in the mental card catalog between LSD and “Séance.” It’s too “out there” and something only weirdos do. I wish Donald Trump would meditate. If he did, he wouldn’t be sending out angry tweets at 3AM.

My journey for the last year or so has been toward “happiness.” Well, that’s what I set the GPS for, but getting to a place of contentment isn’t via highway, it’s typically found with the setting that avoids interstates and tolls. It’s a slower, rural route, but the scenery is beautiful. That’s the point. How many times have you driven somewhere and not really “seen” anything on the trip? How about every day commuting? How much of our lives are spent completely unaware of what’s happening right in front of us? Our minds take over with a torrent of thoughts either reliving the past (depression) or worrying about the future (anxiety). Meanwhile whatever peace and beauty might be in the present moment is swept away by the tsunami of thought.

Meditation is like going to the gym for your mind. It’s training that helps you recognize when the waterfall of thoughts is flowing so you can simply acknowledge them and step back into a quieter space. This training pays off when life’s adversity hits. It could be in work, in personal relationships, or in traffic when somebody cuts you off. Instead of reacting from the sudden rush of emotional water, you can step back to the calmer place, take a breath and respond. Not always, of course. After all, we’re human and who the hell does that guy thing he is?!

Anyway, here’s a great 2-minute primer if you’d like to try meditation. I promise you, a year from now you’ll be thankful you did.

Happy Thanksgiving.

A millimeter of improvement

millimeterIt occurred to me last night that I’m no longer ruminating past events in my mind like an unsolvable Rubik’s cube. I am thinking about the future with some optimism, but mostly I’m just trying to be here now. Explorations on the nature of happiness and a consistent meditation practice (and it is practice because I’m still awful at it) are ongoing. I get about 3 to 4 focused breaths in and suddenly the to do list, some work thing, or wonder of who liked my recent Facebook post intervene. Practice… I’m able to catch myself and refocus on the breath, but the monkey in my mind is a persistent fellow.

swami_yoganandaFor a few weeks now, yoga has been added to the mental mix. Specifically, this routine and this one on the youtubes has got me going. I can do them now without Jen Hillman’s direction, and I’m hopeful that the little increments of improvement will add up to some lasting back pain relief, and being able to pull off this pose by the time I’m this guys age… Thanks Jen. Oh, and Megan bought a yoga wheel! As long as I don’t put myself in the hospital with that thing, I see it helping in the long term. That’s the thing with all of this… long term. None of this produces any overnight results. Whether it’s meditation or yoga, the improvements come millimeters at a time – but they do come.

“The very heart of yoga practice is abhyasa –
steady effort in the direction you want to go.”
― Sally Kempton

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