It’s interesting to note that the few times that I was able to successfully get on the mat and actually quiet my mind enough to meditate first thing in the morning...I FELT AMAZING!!! And of course, having this mountain-top spiritual experience made me instantly commit to NEVER again starting my day without this cherished and life altering time. Yet, getting myself to sit and calmly meditate is like a toddler trying to get an excited little puppy to sit still and cuddle.
Every night I go to bed and envision myself waking up the next morning, giving myself a quick edge-of-the-bed stretch, and heading out to the living room, laying out my yoga mat, lighting the candles (which I already placed around the room specifically to create the ambiance necessary for morning meditation), and getting quiet with myself, with God, with the universe...for 10 to 20 minutes. Then, I imagine, I will have a most peaceful and sane day, thanks to my disciplined and self-loving practice of morning quiet time.
Yeah right. Most mornings, I hit the ground running. After a quick edge-of-the-bed stretch, I usually head straight for the living room and turn on the t.v. to check the latest breaking news stories. This, by the way, is against everything that I believe in. I am constantly telling my children to put down their phones, walk away from the computer, turn off the tube and just “be”, “think thoughts”, “feel all of your feels”, don’t be controlled or tied to technology or the hive mind that permeates so much of the ether in our world and society.
Next, I crank out a Jillian Michaels workout, wind down with Ali Kamenova Yoga, (If you can call doing Ali’s yoga workouts “winding down”), and head to my computer and calendar book. My heart practically pounds some days with anxiety over all of the things that I need to accomplish that day.
What happens between the edge-of-the-bed stretch and the living room? Where does this drive, this coming-at-me-like-a-freight-train-drive come from? Is it the product of this typical American way of thinking, that we are human doings rather than human beings?
Exercise and yoga and meditation are supposed to be something that I do FOR myself, not TO myself. My lifestyle choices are healthy and beneficial. My approach, however, is another thing altogether. I hit my daily activities, even exercise and meditation, with the energy and verve of a toddler looking for their next sugar buzz. I mean if we were to do a cost benefit analysis here, it would look something like this:
5-10 minutes of prep time (laying out my mat, lighting the candles, getting a cup of water or tea)
10-20 minutes of quiet/meditation time
-Feeling of accomplishment (although this kind of “worldly” satisfaction is probably contrary to the enlightenment goals of “letting go”.)
-Physical calmness that far surpasses that of the internal aftermath of watching the latest breaking news...at any time of day, never-the-less watching it first thing in the morning.
-Mental clarity...although calming my monkey mind is akin to that toddler trying to lovingly wrestle with the squirrely puppy for a good long cuddle, there are moments, albeit brief ones, when I am able to “be”, with me, with my mind, with the peace/silence that surrounds us all if we just stop and listen.
It isn’t acceptable, to me, to be praised for being “so together”, “on top of things” and a “mover and shaker” if the price is my sanity and inner peace and the reward is insomnia and heightened anxiety. It just isn’t worth it.
Perhaps, I hope, that time spent with myself, with God, with silence, with my conscience, will and would help me maintain a more peaceful countenance and perspective throughout what can be hectic and even toxic days.
My goal is to lean into existence as a human being rather than a human doing. I was raised in my home and society to be a human doing...we all were. But I have faith in myself to make the positive changes that I want to incorporate into my life. I’m humble enough to ask for accountability from my friends and family. There is so much to strive for...internally and eternally. I am a cock-eyed optimist and look forward to becoming a more...well, I look forward to just becoming.
I love reading poetry. I find this poem to be on point for me right now.
Don’t get tangled in outward desire
Or get caught within yourself.
Once you plant deep the longing for peace
Confusion leaves of itself.
Consciousness and feeling are hard to grasp.
In the realm of Suchness
There is neither self nor other.
In the one, there is all.
In the all, there is one.
If you know this,
You will never worry about being incomplete.