I’ve been reading over 70 essays this past month from my last Level 1 Yin Yoga & Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training and am holding such poignant words and revelations close to my heart from the teachers and participants that have been pouring forth. It seems to me that in my memory bank, I have not read insights this deep from previous years and wondering what it is about this year that has led to the thought and effort that reveals such powerful change. Perhaps the humility that this year has uncovered with the realisation of the preciousness of this life that can change in a moment? Perhaps the darkness that we have all been through in varying degrees. Perhaps the enforced silence that has enabled more pause and room for thought. Whatever it is, the words have in turn helped me to continue and see that we are all suffering in our own way and that none of us are immune.
Meditation isn’t sexy or beautiful when you see picture perfect poses plastered over social media. Why would we want to sit with ourselves in difficult moments? By all means try to shake it off with non conceptual activities like walking, gardening, dancing, singing but if that doesn’t work here’s the thing, it might seem counter intuitive to sit when we are in dark moments but we only know by trying, practicing. Sitting with deeper discomfort or pain that doesn’t easily shift is a far more skilful way to comfort and soothe the deeper difficulties that show up as strong sensation in our bodies somewhere. Most other methods are ways to simply repress and hopefully bury pain but unfortunately they can rear their ‘ugly’ heads when we are triggered by something, because we haven’t actually taken care of them through all the methods that we’ve been dutifully ’doing’. Our yoga, our walking, our nutritious food, our mindful activities. Instead stay a while in a comfortable place, secure and safe, and gently allow your awareness to visit the sensations. Set a timer for a length of time you’re comfortable with. I suggest 20 minutes so that you know there is a finite time. This also gives you enough time to explore. Filtrate, ventilate, aerate, breathe, move if you need to. No need to try to solve or figure out the difficulty. Sometimes we don’t even know what and can’t quite put a finger on why. Our systems can go into overdrive when a multitude of little incidents pile up. It’s no wonder after 1 year of challenge and obstacles.
Be gentle with yourselves. Be kind. It happens to the ‘best’ of us. Except there’s no best. None of us are immune to suffering or pain. Meditation isn’t sexy or beautiful. It’s raw and true.
Let me know how you are one day when you’ve tried. 🙏🏽
These are some words from one of the essays I read this morning.
“There is a brilliant diagram in the Mark Williams book that effectively explains the interconnected relationship between thoughts, feelings, impulses, and body sensations. I found, in periods of mental suffering in my life, it became very easy to chastise myself for ‘thinking negatively’. That my thoughts were what was causing my low mood. But this diagram successfully shows that it is much more complex than that. Sometimes the trigger can be a physical feeling of discomfort, that then triggers low mood, which then creates dark thoughts, which then influences behaviours. There is such a powerful relationship between these factors that it is almost impossible to diagnose the root cause.”
Be kind, be gentle, be you ~ Sarah Lo, 28 March, 2021