The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling-
Meditation is like that. Full of seemingly impossible contradictions! Meditation is tedious and difficult to write about given our connected-analytic nature. Meditation is much easier to explain to someone who habitually thinks poetically. Like the inspired yoga instructor who creates a magical flowing class off the top of their head, or the mountain biker who flows with little effort on tight single-track. Meditation, my kind of Meditation that is … Centers on expanding our logical thinking into poetic and logical thinking. Still with me?!?
How then do we tap into being both a logical thinker, in addition, to being a poetic thinker? This is the essential transformation that a deeply rooted Meditation-Mindfulness practice teaches us.
Allow me to change logical thinker and poetic thinker into – Mind and Heart.
A few years ago, I decided to attend a local workshop and “learn” to meditate. The plan was to attend this workshop, receive a mantra or whatever and instantly become healthier, increase my focus, and calm my crazy mind in like, 13 1/2 minutes of practice twice a day. That was the promise printed on the meditation workshop website. I was “that dude” at the time before tearing my knees apart. An over-achieving runner, and I prided myself on the hard, mindless work I put in daily. Maybe this mindfulness meditation stuff would help me compete at a higher level?!?
On the day of the workshop, as I signed in and unfolded my freezing yoga mat in the picturesque studio, something began to stir within my mind and heart. I had a warm sense of excitement and anticipation that quite surprised me. I literally had no idea what to expect from this class, however in some “weird” way, I resonated with the people who were presenting the workshop and my fellow class mates – Each one of them had a sense of calm that was palpable and real. I listened attentively to their words and the stories they shared, but it was something far beyond the resonating words that was connecting with me, stirring my soul. It’s as though I had passed through a doorway into a serene, peaceful place where my heart expanded and connected to world spinning around me.
This was the first time that I had an awareness of my mind, separate from the peaceful part of my heart.
There are two ways of experiencing Mindfulness … Mind and Heart.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like-
Have you ever noticed that when someone does “something” to upset you – walks across your yoga mat before class, takes your line during a trail run, leans hard on you during the last corner of a local Saturday night crit race? The tendency may be to belittle them in our minds? Our inner critic and dialog begins to spool up, lamenting the “things” we would like to say to them in the moment. Or, as we so often like to do – Lump all the rude and inconsiderate people in the world together into one group.
What am I trying to convey on this beautiful Friday morning: Other people’s actions can often set off a series of reaction(s) within our hearts. Where we ruminate to ourselves, nauseously, over and over again about being done-did-bad, and there is nothing worse than being in down dog – glancing at your hands, and seeing someones foot print staring back at you!
The amount of time we spend in our mind (instead of our hearts), talking and thinking about how insufferable other people are – Is precious time spent creating hate and discord. Eventually, theses feelings will manifest themselves in other ways …
Start each day anew my friends and be sure to have a wonderful weekend!
One love, one heart, one destiny-
True personal awareness arises from embracing our true spirit and taking ownership of the power within. That’s my personal fitness, 30 day yoga challenge, marathon training, “whatever” plan for you! Seriously, that’s all you need. Although, we happen to live in a time and place, when people do not know, let alone nurture, their spiritual life, let alone remain conscious of their soul or acknowledge its existence. Many kind and passionate folks who may not know their true-spirit, may be absorbed by “other” pursuits, their social life or basic everyday survival. These less nuanced areas of our lives, important as they are, simply fail to sustain our delicate hearts and nurture our souls.
I get a fair amount of “odd” looks of disbelief when asked – “What brought you into our new studio?” or “You had a great race today! What does your training plan consist of mate?”
My humble answer: Humility, Courage and Love.
A deep-rooted sense of humility to recognize that I am merely a visitor in this inspiring life, blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the gifts that surround me. Love has gifted me a profound perspective, that fills me with joy and peace – even during the most trying moments of life. Courage provides me the strength and confidence to say “no.” Courage allows me to define myself in the face of the moment or setting, not being tempted to compromise my true inner spirit.
Our true inner spirit enables us to surrender to inner peace, pure love, and real meaning in this thing called life.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free-
The way in which our environment conditions us is more prevalent, and dare I say – perverse, than we appreciate. This topic is wide-ranging and fairly dense with meaning and purpose. In order to present it to you openly, and with an honest heart? We need to look into the dark areas of our souls.
Seldom do we realize that the appearance of unnatural looking/tasting and pretty benign “things,” like the latest carbon fiber/electronic shifting bikes, chestnut praline latte’s, yoga mats and attire, tasteless candy, processed food, and trendy running attire owe their tantalizing properties to the way in which we are conditioned. The way in which the environment we live in shapes our behavior – no drool or droll needed, well maybe just a little?!? I caught myself recently lusting over a new Stevens Super Prestige Disc CX bike for no apparent reason other than it looks like good sex. Why is this so? I have some nice bikes already … The same holds true for other savory objects, such a new the colorful yoga mat for the aspiring yogi, an empty Starbucks cup for the coffee connoisseur , and new shoes for the runners lurking out there.
What scares my personally and as a society, is that, as sophisticated as this conditioning may seem, much of it is mediated unconsciously to us, beneath the nadir of our conscious and awareness.
Why do I desire a new pair of Brooks running shoes, when I can’t even run? This is really scary!
I really think I write about everyday life. I don’t think I’m quite as odd as others say I am. Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that’s what makes it so boring-
Why do we become bored with cycling – running, our yoga practice – anything? Typically we immerse ourselves in rewarding and stimulating environment(s) – We have plenty of training apps and social media to keep us motivated, although, tracking performance or sharing memorable accounts of a recent race with friends, succeeds only in dividing our attention further from the inspiring moment at hand, perpetuating our boredom even more. Let’s honestly ask ourselves and reflect on how often we simply stare at our gadgets, with no purpose at all?
Why is our boredom hardly ever recognized, let alone less addressed and talked about openly?
What boredom does for me personally, is to pull open the blinds on some rather uncomfortable thoughts and feelings – Thoughts and feelings, I normally try to escape and block out with a flurry of activity. Case in point: Long bike rides, lets say 75+ miles, I often find myself bored, which means I spend more time looking up Stats and KOM’s with Strava. Rather than savoring the beautiful countryside flowing beside me. If you are ever unfortunate enough to attend one of my yoga classes? When some new-age hippie Wanderlust music starts playing fifteen minutes into class and you have been in down dog for 5 minutes? I have become bored and uninspired as a teacher. Time to hop on the old Hedonic Treadmill …
I find being bored so unpleasant, that I expend considerable time and energy trying to reduce it. The technological gizmos lying at our twitchy fingertips have put an infinite amount of “information” and “stimulation” at our disposal. However, oddly enough, this only serves to make “things” worse! How? Instead of just being we become stale to the world, seeking more stimulation and information … The treadmill rolls on.
When we ease into the comfort of our boredom, we develop a deeper relationship with our true selves rather than our technology/phones/gadgets. There is a simple, brilliant wealth of creativity waiting for us …