How much of the pain, the anxiety, the happiness, the emotions we feel are actually because of what is happening to us right now?
We wake, we sit, we stand, we walk, and we weave stories all day. When we sleep our mind weaves some more. What is actually happening? A lot. But not what we may think. Actually our thinking mind often takes us away from what is actually happening.
I am back in school and have noticed this while studying. The dread of reading my chemistry book, or doing a problem set, is much more intolerable than actually sitting and doing the problems. The thoughts running around in my head during night time laboratory about how tired I am, how nice bed would be, is this over yet, cause me much more suffering than actually being in lab. (Being present in lab that is to say.)
What a different world it is if we decide to just show up. Chemistry laboratory becomes not a hindrance to bed time, but a marvel! How beautiful are chemical reactions? How intriguing is everyone’s involvement in the class? How therapeutic is the concentration it takes to not spill a drop of NaOH on the countertop all class?
I have found a similar effect while studying. Leave the thoughts behind ya. I meditate before I study now, and when my thoughts stray too far from the information I am picking up, I go on a walk and meditate again. I do not fight what my monkey brain impulses start to do. I just allow them space to pass and continue onward, memorizing the muscles of the body. I have found I learn information better this way, and the information stays with me for a longer time.
The same thing happens on the yoga mat during a pose— particularly poses held for a longer period of time. When will this be over? I hate Warrior 3, this teacher always does Warrior 3. What if we were just here, present, showing up, for each pose? Would any be that bad? Or could all poses become teachers about our inner state?
How much of life do you live in your head? How much of your day are you meeting with an open and ready mind? Are things really as bad as our mind makes them out to be? Is dread necessary? Alternatively, are certain things really as good as our minds make them out to be? Food is a great example of this for me, but also certain relationships. Did my impulse to call so-and-so in this moment come from a clear and open mind, or a racing impulsive one? I only need to listen to my breath to figure out the answer.