Do you know the I Love Lucy scene where Lucy and Ethel are supposed to be taking chocolates
off a conveyor belt and boxing them, but somehow the conveyor belt is jammed on high and chocolates fly past them? In trying to manage the flow they stuff chocolates in their pockets, mouths, on the floor. It’s a great comedic scene. As I sat down to meditate recently, it occurred to me that my mind was a lot like that conveyor belt, and like Lucy, I wasn’t always able to manage what was coming my way in the most appropriate way. Aha! THIS is why we meditate. Meditation helps us to slow down the conveyor belt so we can make sense of what’s coming through and deal with it most appropriately. Some chocolates we just watch pass us. Some we take in. But we’re able to find order, manage and use them, and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, originator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a meditation technique medically studied and used in medical centers around the world, reminds us that there’s nothing wrong with thinking. In his book Meditation for Beginners, he says, “Our capacity for thought is one of humanity’s most amazing qualities.” Our thoughts have been the source of great advances, and the great works of human culture. “But,” he says, “when
thinking is not held and examined in the larger field of awareness, it can run amok.” Run amok. Is that familiar to anyone?! Whose thoughts, worries and ruminations haven’t swamped us at some time? But when we sit down to meditate, we develop the field of awareness Kabat-Zinn mentions. We slow down, we’re able to hear without judgement and stay open to possibility. We become compassionate listeners to our own being and that allows us to cultivate perspective and discernment. That’s how we know what to keep, reject and learn from.
Our physical yoga practice was always meant to help us to meditate. When we move mindfully, we not only move our energy, and create strength, balance and all the other physical benefits we need, we hone our concentration. We grow our ability to shine the light of awareness into all parts of our lives.
There’s no one magic pose that brings us peace and ease. But the practice of abyhasa, showing up consistently and with enthusiastic focus to whatever yoga practice works for you, can help still the mind, bring some order to the chaos and yes, bring greater peace and ease. Vigorous or gentle, your physical practice and a little meditation are magical.
So how about it? Will you make a little time for stillness (and maybe a bit of chocolate) today?
I've taught and lived yoga for more than 20 years. I know it can be intimidating. But it can also be fun--and rewarding--regardless of your starting point or challenges. On this blog I share some of the yoga wisdom that sustains me.