I was meditating for an hour this morning, and I thought, I could do more. Meaning I would like to stay in meditation longer today. But I stopped because other responsibilities called.
Immediately after meditation, I sit in my breath, and in open head-and-heart space (no to-do list yet), ready for contemplation or inquiry that might come up. Sometimes nothing does, and after a moment, I move on.
This morning, an inquiry: why do I practice yoga and meditation?
The answer: I don’t know.
So I contemplated.
While I was stressed and anxious, I didn’t come to this practice to find relief for my stress and anxiety. At the time, I went to therapy for that, and also I drank.
While I valued exercise for my physical and mental health, I didn’t come to this practice for those things. At the time, I went to the gym six days a week, did weights and an hour of cardio for strength, metabolism, and mental clarity. I stretched for flexibility.
So why yoga/ meditation?
I came to it because it was something I hadn’t tried, and I had heard people were doing it. I was curious to see what it was.
I continued because it made me realize that even after years of training in the gym, I didn’t have real connection to my body. And, this practice made me less externally focused and neurotic about my body.
I continued because after years of therapy, while I understood very well my story and why I was the way I was, and while the person I paid affirmed me, and those insights gave me something very important – self-forgiveness and validation – the yoga practice gave me increasing peace of mind, mental agility around what I couldn’t control, and a healing head space that provided emptiness, a beautiful word when looked through a different lens. Rather than being meaningless, this empty space is all-expansive and rich with potential. It is coded with invisible, universal intelligence. The ability to tap into that space that had not yet been contaminated by the ego for longer than even a second makes a dramatic difference in the experience of one’s life. Light only needs a small crack to shine through.
Most of all, it stuck because I followed something inside of me that understood its magic even when my mind hadn’t fully grasped it (it still hasn’t). I was too skeptical to come in with any expectations, general or specific, and this turned out to be the best way to come to it. My mind could not limit this practice to a performance tool that I could analyze. I couldn’t ask, why isn’t this working? How long before I feel different and my life gets better? I didn’t even get that I would still be doing this practice 20 years later, let alone teach it. My mind had no reference point for disappointment as it related to this practice. So it referenced me to my soul.