A friend called this morning, unable to tear her thoughts away from an all-consuming problem in her life. She wanted help.
Here’s a reason to meditate.
Unable to tear her thoughts away? That’s a bit like me going to yoga class and being unable to tear myself out of Downward Dog.
This sounds ridiculous, but it isn’t. I love Downward Dog. I find it easier than almost anything that comes before or after during a class. It is a familiar place for me. I know it isn’t best practice for me to stay in Downward Dog for the entire day, but I’d do it for an entire class if I had my druthers.
Similarly, my friend knows that staying with lousy thoughts is an easy, seductive rut but isn’t good for her. She comes back to the painful story over and over like an obsessive-compulsive wound-picker who would love nothing better than to be free of herself.
Somehow, we expect to be able to control our bodies – time to brush my teeth (good hands!), time to open the door (good wrist action!), time to move out of Downward Dog (eyes ahead and jump forward) – but not our thoughts. “I can’t help thinking about this,” we say.
But we can. In fact, the moment I notice myself thinking an unwanted thought, I can make a choice to move my thoughts somewhere else, somewhere more loving, more joyous. If my thoughts return to lousy, shmucky, destructive places, I make the choice again. I make that choice 570 times a day if I need to.
This is a practice, just like our yoga on the mat is a practice. Some days I’ll be a genius with it, some days I won’t. Such is humanhood. But the practice works.
Meditation is this practice. It is the practice of letting go of my sticky attachment to thoughts.
Something to contemplate next time I am drawn to fear or worry, next time I judge myself, or you, or my life.
And just another reason to adore meditation.
Thanks to yoga and to meditation’s central place in yoga. I’m so grateful for both.
I’m also grateful to you for being here. Thank you for the conversation,