Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not an Escape Hatch

Right in the middle of a hard time, I throw myself on the mat. Oh to clean out this mess in me, oh to just erase the hard stuff and feel peaceful. Why can't I just step outside this snarl by meditating and doing yoga?

Even though the practice is not an escape, my practice brings me closer in to what is going on, if I choose to allow that to happen. Meditation and yoga-on-the-mat practice does heal some of my internal wounds, and perhaps these inflammations and old gashes support the current mess. It can lead to the illusion that the practice helps me escape... because I feel so much more equanimity and space for my own breath in the practice. I can let my body unclench from its reactivity and that brings more energy to every situation, even the hard ones. Giving myself space can also change my entire view of what's going on.

So the impulse to throw myself into practice in order to escape and erase is also reactive nature, and though the result is not escape or erasure, the practice itself can help me step back and observe my own clenched hand, my own part in the story from whence the trapped feeling comes.

There are moments when my mind shuts down with the overload of information, when I cannot figure out what to do. There is a misconception that I must solve the problem. Practice helps me notice the specificity of my own posture. Where am I tightened up, where can I lean into the earth for support, how can I let go and make more space? This is the same approach that works best in the middle of a snarl. In its nature a relationship reaches beyond the individual components into a shared energy, an interaction. If I can find my own breath, feel my own foundation, free my own clenching, then there is a much better chance I can actually see and accept the conditions and reactivity around me with more than just tolerance.

My attachment to the outcome of the situation exacerbates the snarling, and my practice helps me see the source of my attachment. That, in and of itself, can set me free from the entrenched place where I was stuck, defending, attacking or drowning in confusion.

Practice, in its nature, helps me see that there is nothing "wrong" and nothing "right." This way of seeing what is, without judgment, eliminates the idea that "problem solving" is relevant or useful. By addressing my own attachments and judgments, I free myself to be more open to all the aspects of whatever the current brings in.

Practice, not to erase, not to escape, but with the possibility of seeing more and more clearly, being present even more fully. Using meditation and yoga will help, not to slip away and disappear, but step into more space for your awareness, for your compassion, for your intellect as well.

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