We live in a frenzied world

“We live in a frenzied world in which most of us think if we’re not doing something, even watching TV, we’re wasting time. We get so caught up in our activities, relationships, thoughts, and emotions that we think that’s all there is to us.” An excerpt from the book: Mind in the Balance; Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity, by B. Alan Wallace.

These are the words that I read one morning as I spontaneously opened one of the many books in my collection.  
I was sitting on the floor and I pulled a book from the shelf, randomly opening it to page 6. It always amazes me how words can resonate in a single moment of time.

I had “dragged my tail” getting out of bed this particular morning. I had been up early, done all of my morning rituals and then as I passed my open bedroom door and looked inside at my unmade bed I went mmmm that looks so snugly and so I popped myself back in…..watching my not so useful thoughts and self talk as I did.
I’ll leave the details of those thoughts for you to imagine, as I reckon we are all able to fill in the blanks from our own experience……

As I read, Wallace asked me, the reader, this question, “Can you truly be silent when you want to, or does your mind spew out one thought after another?”

In reflection “spew” was probably an apt word. As I had snuck back into bed there was a lot of negative self talk…..“There are things to do….stop being lazy…what are you doing….you really need some constructive work to do….what is your purpose”….ad infinitum they came. 
I heard the words and I felt them as constriction in my chest and body, while at the same time I was trying to understand their purpose and questioning their validity.
Mmm, some were valid…some not…..yet I knew all of them had purpose.

In that snugly place it was safe to feel… feel that questioning… allow “stuff” to rise and to fall. There was also a remembering that this snugly place had always been somewhere to go to “feel”, and in these later years it has allowed me to feel strong and uncomfortable sensations safely.
I am continually learning to connect with that integral part of my feeling self, to allow expression and to hold sensations and feelings softly in loving arms and with an open heart. 

Wallace goes on to say, “Without deliberately thinking about anything, see if you can simply be aware of your body and mind. Be silent, and, without reacting let the sensations of your body and thoughts and emotions arise into your awareness. Tick, tick, tick, tick…”

I snuggled in that dream-like state…not asleep…..not awake, yet still hearing to the world happening outside. As I stayed there seemingly suspended in time those negative thoughts subsided and gave way to different images and sensations.
The dark and heavy thoughts gave way, firstly to no thought and then to images and feelings of direction and purpose.

Those moments rose and fell like gentle waves, bringing with them sensations of lightness and joy. 

Was I asleep?
Was I awake?
Are these questions even relevant?

I’m not sure…..I wasn’t theoretically “sitting for meditation” yet there was a sense the familiar here and there was much meaning in the felt experience…..

Do I need an answer?
No I don’t…

Did the experience change something for me?…Yes.

Within the experience…the heaviness felt in my being that morning had lifted. In it’s place there appeared more clarity, direction and purpose.

I could’ve spent the rest of the day thinking that had I wasted time, or worried because I had been caught out in my jim-jams by my neighbour late in the morning, or that I “should have” gotten more of the tax done….and on it goes.

What I always need to remind myself of in moments like these is that something changed within that experience.

Life is an experience…every moment of that morning was valid; every experience had meaning and purpose.

In that morning there had been an opportunity for self reflection – svadhyaya, which is something that my “not enough constructive work” affords me.
It affords me time to contemplate and write, time to help the neighbour make jam (even if it was in my jim jams) and simply time to reflect on my many blessings.
It affords me moments that are important…

“Svadhyaya is the fourth niyama from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (2:32) sva meaning self or belonging to me”, adhyaya meaning “inquiry or examination”. Svadhyaya simply means to get closer to yourself, that is to study yourself. All learning, all reflection, all contact that helps you to learn more about yourself is svadhyayaTKV Desikachar; The Heart of Yoga, Developing a Personal Practice.

This is how I roll.
Svadhyaya is part of my life, it’s not something that I consciously do all the time… is simply there. Sometimes it is a purposeful practice, sometimes it arises spontaneously. This practice of self study allows me to see where I fit, how life intertwines with everything around me, and how others and nature reflects back to me my world.

I am always constantly reminding myself that I can justify any aspect of my life to make it fit into my own world reality… it makes me laugh when I think of this…

So…with the help of svadhyaya and a good teacher; that someone who is able to reflect back to me what is present (part of the concept of “contact” that Sri Desikachar intimates to in the passage above), change is possible. From my own experience I have found both to be the key to growth and finding truth.

Now if I do find myself justifying laying in late on a regular basis there will be a need for another round of self reflection to identify and my pattern and acknowledge its underlying cause. 

I will then really…really want to do something about my habit and be brave enough to initiate a practice to begin to change that established pattern, because I may have become very comfortable in my habitual ways.
I will then need to undertake my practice with a sustained effort (which may take some time especially if I really, really, really like my old ways) so as to bring about meaningful change and to establish a new and positive pattern that reflects my current goals in this stage of my life….(another sutra for another day)   

This is yoga in action.
I love what it offers me….

2 thoughts on “We live in a frenzied world”

  1. To read your words i feel the comfort of a knowing friend as I connect with similarities in my own experience and the gift of your perception and the being with that you offer yourself. An opportunity to learn to be friendlier to myself. Thank you Radha xx

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