"When we sit down to meditate, whatever arises in our minds we look at directly, call it 'thinking,' and go back to the simplicity and immediacy of the breath. Again and again, we return to the pristine awareness free from concepts. Meditation practice is how we stop fighting with ourselves, how we stop struggling with circumstances, emotions or moods." ~Pema Chodron
My very first experience with the study of meditation was a six-hour long practice in yoga school a little over two years ago. My legs went numb on several different occasions and when the teacher said we could get up, ...I literally couldn't. A friend commented on this by saying, "You got relaxed!" If I'm being honest, which I attempt to be in this and all future blogs, I did not feel relaxed. It was very uncomfortable. It made me NOT want to practice meditation. AND THEN on my way home from school, my mustang convertible shredded a tire and I was instantly alone and stranded on the side of US Highway I-69. Another place to just sit and breathe... and another opportunity to practice meditating...? Maybe the Universe WAS trying to tell me something! :)
I called my husband who contacted our insurance and a tow truck was about an hour away. So I walked away from my convertible, up the side of the hill and sat down in the grassy weeds where the Sun shone down. Cars, semis, & trucks of all kinds were flying by me at enormous speeds which blew wind in my direction. A moment ago, I was flying at those same speeds and not really even thinking about it. Now, zoomed out and backed away from it all slightly more, I realized --though I was all alone and stranded -- I felt safer up here.
Meditation could be paralleled to what I experienced here and described as this:
-when life or circumstances "shred" you (or your tires)
-slow down and "pull over"
-sit down "in a sunny place close to Nature"
-and see the bigger picture (even with your eyes closed)
-feel how you feel in your body
-and what you are thinking in your mind...
-and return back to the "simplicity and immediacy of the breath" as Pema states above.
Be patient, because someone will be there to load your beautiful prakriti (material item) up and your car will be repaired and you will be on your way home soon!
Be patient, ...Someone will be there to uplift your body and your mind when you sit and breathe and wait -- leaving behind a peace and calm. Be patient, ...what you're going through won't last forever -- you will get through this! Where there once was chaos and flying in the body/mind, now there is a sweet, silent, and strength thats taking root to grow. You can do this! I believe in you. I have been there, too. Not wanting to practice because it can be uncomfortable to slow down and sit so long your legs may go numb is honest. The feelings, or emotions, of being alone and stranded are very real at times in our human existence. Trust the process and that stuff is changing inside of you. The length of your practice matters not as much as the consistency of a daily (or often) meditation practice. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up or stay at 5 minutes whenever -- during your lunch or before bed every single night. You get to choose. In conclusion, I would like to leave you with this invitation:
Whatever arises in life or in meditation, ....feel safer up here.
With love & hope that this will encourage you in your life and in your practice of meditation,