Heart and mind: can we both win?

As a yoga teacher, I often find myself guilty of not practicing on my own.  After my teacher training, I was pumped up on practicing in my home every morning for at least an hour.  These days, I feel much more motivated going to a class.  Though I understand this: there is an energy you find with practicing with others and it’s nice to zone out and be led by someone else.

Meditation has been on my mind frequently in the past few months. I hear my own words, saying to the class that asanas are preparation for seated mediation.   I’ve taken classes from Indian gurus, read books and learned all about it.  Like yoga poses, it takes time to learn and really get the benefits.  So it goes by the wayside.  I was in a Korean Buddhist temple not long ago and felt the peace that lingered there.  I’ve contemplated going back to spend some time there and just sit for a while.

This morning I decided to do some yoga and meditate.  What I learned in my teacher training is that it is okay to sit for a while and listen to what is going on inside.  He called it ‘witnesses consciousness’ if I remember correctly.  In India, I spent some time with an Osho teacher who also encouraged me to sit for a while and accept the racing thoughts that run through my head.  My attempts at seated meditation have always been this: listen to heart, listen to emotions, feel…then I observe how my feelings affect my thoughts.  There seems to be a channel or tunnel where anxious or sad feelings travel through and form thoughts, often causing my head to spin.  The same goes for joyful or happy feelings (much more pleasant), though instead of my head spinning it’s an overall sense of well-being.  In my own practice, this is what I have learned.

Trying to light a portable gas BBQ this past weekend on the beach, we lit a hole in the metal tube component that connected the propane to the heating element inside the BBQ.  This was unsucessful as we realized that you had to light it underneath the BBQ or the ignighted propane in the tube would eventually blow up and combust from the heat pressure.  There was no outlet for the heat; it was trapped in the tube.  That feels like my head sometimes.

So today as I meditated I laughed on the inside as I observed my emotions and mind competing for attention.  In the end, my mind won.  Regardless, I feel a sense of peace and calm; an awareness that everything will be okay.

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