Sunday, March 10, 2013

Experiments Fail, This Moment Never Does

Since January 2013 I've been vegan minus oils and wheat gluten. This has enlivened my creativity in the kitchen, since I love to eat and the possibilities with these ingredients seem endless. The hard part is trying to make something that I used to eat full of things I no longer eat. This seems to encapsulate so many of the problems we make for ourselves.

This may sound like a kitchen story but it is a yoga story. Everything I do is an experiment, if an experiment is an action within the context of the known and the unknown. In any given moment, all I have is what my mind tells me. Like walking in a maze, the more familiar  I can be with the false turns and the dead ends, the more quickly and smoothly I can adjust my path to keep the path opening up ahead. Otherwise I can spend half the day, or the whole day, stuck in a cul-de-sac of judgment and that feeling of unworthiness will color all else. Without willingness to see the truth, there will be no growth or improvement next time, no way to duplicate a success, or avoid the same cause of a disappointment.  The easiest way to do this is to know my own tendencies and understand the conditional nature of my own reactions.

This really came in to focus with my blueberry muffin project one morning, which led directly to a blueberry scone project to change things for the better, both of which failed to produce anything resembling a baked blueberry treat I would have made in the past. Not only did the project not satisfy that goal, but eating the results gave me a stomach ache. On top of that, it was the first time I put together a blog post for my eat2thrive blog and literally deleted it after posting it. The muffins, my breakfast, and the blog post were all failures. It was no surprise that this put a damper on my mood, yet that's just where the surprise came. I could see the mood happen and let it come, and then let it go, without taking it personally.

In a yoga practice there are times when what went fine yesterday does not go well today. Our mind sets us up with hopes and expectations, with fears and roadblocks. It helps when we see this and acknowledge it. It's not enough to say, "I don't know how it will come out." It is important to fully see that it is fine to try and not know, and that this not knowing might mean something delicious or something disappointing on the road to figuring out how to make something delicious. It is the steps and stages necessary in an experiment to see what results are produced by which actions. In this way the moment is always fulfilling its best potential. Engrossed in the choices, awaiting the outcome, tasting the results, and revising the plans, all of these are complete, each in their own moment. The cloud of disappointment may come and go as the first muffin is eaten. The choice to let the inner critic have a field day, that's another matter. To see how we twist that outcome into more than the sum of its parts, is to see how we subject ourselves to our own patterns of judgment and expectation.

That turned out to be the most rewarding result of the whole blueberry muffin project. This ability to observe the mind, the mood, the pattern, and the escape from the traps, gave me a lovely day even with a triple strike out to start.  I am already scheming on the next variations to try in the puzzle of an oil-less, egg-less, gluten-free blueberry muffin.

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