“Freedom comes when we are not in anxiety about non-perfection.”
This morning I woke up early (well, I got to sleep LATE – I woke up at a decent hour.) I peed and then went to sit back on my bed. I took 3 deep inhalations/exhalations and then scanned over my body, from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet and then back up again. I scan from the inside. In other words, I’m not checking my body as an observer, I’m sensing my body from the inside – what does my hair feel like, my scalp my eyes, my nose, my mouth and neck, my spine, my shoulders, etc. all the way down to my toenails. I want to savor the feeling of this body. It’s also a great way to really feel when things are tense and they almost instantly relax when these body parts are given this much attention. I do this all the way down and then all the way up. This is also a practice in patience because this takes a small bit of time to do this fully. Then I take some deep full breaths – I enjoy relaxing by doing the anjali breath that I learned in yoga class (hopefully I’m spelling that correctly) – this is the breath where you sort of constrict the breath in a way and let the air pass through slowly. I’ll have to look it up and write a better description of it but it sort of sounds like a small wave of an ocean and it is very calming.
I let my breathing go into its natural rhythm and then deliberately envisions my mind going into my heart. My friend Kayla told me something once and I loved it so much that I wrote it on my cafe wall in calligraphy: “THINK WITH YOUR HEART AND LOVE WITH YOUR MIND.”
I imagine that means that I use my heart for thinking. Buddhists sometimes refer to the mind as residing in the heart so that’s what I pictured this morning. With my “heart mind” open, I was watching my breath and I had the thought that in a way, this is kind of like watching your baby breathing when it is newly born. I had a little smile on my face. I think I’m on a good track here. I’m seeking intimacy with myself: self trust, self love, self worth, self respect, etc. All those good things. Best to have a kick ass relationship with oneself, right? Otherwise, how would it happen externally? I want to love without holding back. I want to relax so I can enjoy this life.
So I held this place of watching my belly from my heart mind. My eyes were closed – I was just feeling my belly rise and fall in breath. Whatever thoughts came in, I named them gently and smiled to them, inviting them in and then watching them dissolve. Then an image came into my mind and my whole self wanted to focus on it. I did for quite a long time. This is actually what I’m very good at – visualization. I can focus on this kind of stuff and do shamanic journey work extremely well. No thoughts or emotions or anything seems to take over when I’m doing this and it is a kind of one-pointedness focusing that I really enjoy. Probably because when I’m not doing this I seem to hold about 4 or 5 thoughts at once sometimes (plus songs!) LOL So I let myself stay with this image and I sort of filled myself up with it. When I was ready, I let the image wash away like a wave, I went back to noticing my breath and continued on to watch it rise and fall and name whatever was coming up.
So was it a success? I suppose it was. I didn’t judge anything that was happening and I didn’t try to resist anything that was coming to me. I absolutely chose to focus on that image and so I suppose in a way, this is what Tara Brach is talking about in her Radical Acceptance. We can deny what is in front of us, fight it, say that we dont want it. “IF ONLY I could sit and really be quiet in my mind, I’d be a much happier person.” “I need the right meditation pillow and then I’ll be all set to do this.” “I used to be able to do this better than I can now.” These are all examples of the wanting mind. The IF ONLY mind. Brach writes “Freedom comes when we are not in anxiety about non-perfection.” MMMMmmmm, I’ll write that again:
- “Freedom comes when we are not in anxiety about non-perfection.”
I’m enjoying that book Radical Acceptance. I recommend it highly.
I’m off to live my day full of intention and mindfulness. I wish the same for you.