Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak… surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that-
There are many misconceptions about the role “results” play in achieving our goals (whatever they may be.)
We should define a couple of words before we move on – outcome and process. An outcome is centered on results, beating others and posting it on social media. A process involves focusing on what we need to do perform our very best, such as how we prepare and nurture our souls, training, or even practicing mindfulness. Notice how an outcome is focused on “things” outside of you. While in contrast, a process is focused entirely on you?
Most of us think that (myself included at times), in order to get the results we want, we need to focus on those results. Wanna get better at yoga? Gotta be more flexible! Loose a few pounds before summer begins … When does the outcome of a competition occur? At the end of course. If we become obsessed on the outcome, we are not focused on the process – What we need to do to perform our best from the start to the finish. What makes you nervous before yoga class or a big ride, the process or the outcome? It’s the outcome, and more specifically, a bad outcome such as not performing well or tumbling over trying to reach your “peak” pose. When we focus on the outcome, we are far less likely to get the outcome we want.
When we pause to focus on the process, we increase the chances of achieving the results we so richly deserve.
Sometimes, I can’t shift my heart from the outcome to process, the best thing I can do when this happens, is to get out of my mind completely. In other words, I go for an early morning walk, bike ride, or like yesterday morning – yoga practice in a quiet park. These moments gently take me from thinking about the outcome to, feeling the process.
There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked until a person is mature enough to appreciate the answers-
We are made up of many “things,” so are our handy gadgets, fancy cars, spiffy shoes, colorful yoga mats and ridiculously expensive bikes – A bunch of cells and molecules blended craftily together. If there’s a major distinction to be pointed out between us and these cherished inanimate objects, it’s that we tactile beings are blessed with the ability to feel our emotions and to communicate them to others. Or do we?!?
While we have the ability to express our emotions to others, sometimes – most of the time, we don’t always do it when we desperately need to. It’s important to pause and ask why every once in a while. As you may have noticed in my recent posts, I have been asking myself “why” quite a bit of late. I do so because we live in social media/hyper connected world that tells us, don’t feel upset,” or don’t feel sad, don’t worry, and to “Be brave and stand tall” when adversity graces our lives. It’s also important to remember that the world we live in has a double-edge sword, waiting patiently to chop our heads off when our emotions sway the opposite direction, when we boast and brag about a new gadget, personal best and buying a new bike. The net result of all of “this,” is one sad but brutally true underlying message – Stop being and don’t feel anything.
My posts of late have been painfully tedious for one important reason: I’m starting to make a habit of honoring myself and you, each and every day. One last question before we part ways this morning: Before you click “publish, “like” or post anything online … Is there a moment where you think about the ramifications of your action(s), a moment where you stop being and fail to feel anything?!?
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!
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!
The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter-
Yup, Gotcha! Seriously I already know patience is totally valuable for dealing with the long lines this time of the year, soccer moms searching for the one true parking spot at the mall, or interacting with “disagreeable” folks ordering a coffee. Seriously! I’m keenly aware that true inner change takes time, and why am I becoming frustrated talking about impatience?!? Oh – Maybe it has something to do with not seeing the instant results we desire in life?
My lack of patience stems from a false sense of belief about myself. I think I should be able to handle everything in the world, myself. I think there is only one way to achieve my goals and when “things” don’t quite work out? … I become increasing impatient.
I try so hard not to get discouraged when my progress is slow.
True change takes times.
I am gently walking my path to recovery from bad habits that have defined me for a better part of my life. I’ve come so far, there’s no way I can quit right now!
If we foster and nurture patience, if we can wait for ourselves to arrive in this inspiring moment, anything can happen.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana-
Often, in our self-absorbed naiveté, we believe time to be infinite in nature. Oddly enough, time as we are experiencing it, right now in this wonderful moment … Is the one “thing” in our lives of which we can be absolutely certain of (I am deeply grateful for you being here with me right now). Why then, do we insist on spending our precious time consumed with how many followers we have on WordPress, or perusing the latest “Likes” on FaceTube, rather than being engaged in our lives?
The past few weeks I have been paying more attention to the virtual world, instead of the real world. Rather than being fully engaged in the fleeting moments before me, moments that, for their own nuanced reasons, are even more precious than most. A none too subtle slap upside my head brought me back in time, and this abrupt moment prompted me to begin thinking about just how much distraction we volunteer for on a daily basis, and how much it impacts what we have come to consider “meaningful” in our lives.
The end result of my introspection is a simple question I often fail to ask when I’m distracted – “What’s important in this beautiful moment?!?”
The scrambled priority of our lives keeps us from savoring each sip of our morning coffee, or enjoying conversation with a dear friend, or going for an early ride/walk/hike and enjoying the sun rising gently on the horizon.
… The view that we no longer notice.