It is all our choice
You wake up one morning. You didn't plan it. You didn’t expect it but you awoke with a really nasty mood. You feel inadequate. You feel lonely. You are running negative storylines in your head. Somewhere in the back of your head you are aware that on a rational basis there is nothing to justify this mood. But this mood feels like goo stuck to your body, it just won’t loosen its grip. The house is quiet, everyone is still sleeping. You feel as if your body is broken into thousands of small pieces. You allow yourself to go to your yoga mat. You are lying down in savasana, feeling as if you sank to the bottom of the ocean. You imagine the sandy bottom. You give in to the feelings. You surrender. You ask for help. The armor, the effort to hold it together all the time, the obligation to be cheerful and positive, has cracked and melted away. You lie there raw and exposed.
You pause. You know that harsh emotions are a part of the whole, part of life. Resisting them, denying them is an act of aggression towards yourself. These are moments of self-teaching. With all the pain, however, there is tenderness.
You know that suffering is an inevitable condition for all human beings, so say the Buddhist teachings. Everyone suffers. No matter their specific situation. You must appreciate how lucky you are to be aware, to be able to pause and notice what is happening. You are courageous to meet with things as they are.
Or, you can be trapped, find ways to deny, to distract from the harsh sensations that come up. It can be loneliness, anger, anxiety, sadness, jealousy, boredom. The list is long. Right away, you look to solve or fix the sensations and find comfort again by giving in to habitual patterns of reacting, falling back into well-worn pre-defined lines of thinking and doing.
It is early A.M., and you are on the yoga mat. This time, you allow yourself to be with the harsh sensations. You become a bit more familiar with them. You get a bit closer to the sensations and observe them. You close your eyes. I ask you to feel the sensations in the body. Where are they located? What shape does it form? What color? You stay there with the sensations for a few moments, awake and aware, coming back to your involuntary breath. It burns you, you feel the pain and it becomes a tangible object.
Now imagine that the tangible form of your pain leaves your physical body. You still hold the pain, grabbing the leash tied to it. The pain is there, but out of your body. You have separated from it.
What impact does removing the pain have on your breathing? Do you feel the tension in your body lessen? What of your mind? Do you feel a difference?
Take a few moments to relax with the new refreshing feeling. Cultivate it. There is no need to take back the pain. It is out, and therefore it can’t haunt you or rule you.
Hug your knees in towards your chest. When ready, roll onto the right body side, moving into fetal position. Press the hands and sit upright. Take a deep breath to your heart, exhale.