Journal or reflect:
What parts of yourself have you learned to see through meditation or self–exploration?
What parts of yourself do you not want to see?
What parts of yourself are you trying to get rid of?
Can you look at all of you? Can you make space for all of you?
Neil deGrasse Tyson says that there are “as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in a galaxy. We are, each of us, a little universe.”
Can you allow yourself to open to mystery of you? Your everyday life? What stops you?
Are you too rushed? Are you too busy to appreciate with wonder and awe those flowers by the window?
What inspires awe in you? Can you allow yourself more opportunities to witness a sunset from start to finish (and when does it start and when does it finish?).
Can you appreciate the miracle of this moment? That you are sitting/standing/laying here right now, breathing, pulsing, reading, understanding? And that millions of years of evolution led to right now?
That’s all. That’s the practice this month: Drop Things.
Go ahead. Cancel some stuff. Get rid of some not-crucial demands. Let go of some people.
Not so easy is it? Especially for you competent, nicey–nice, doing types.
Well, space is not going to make itself happen. You’re going to have to create it.
What is absolutely necessary?
What do you hold on to out of a sense of obligation/guilt/decorum/fear?
What are you willing to drop?
One of the functions of sati (mindfulness) is to update sañña (perception). Perception is how we know and categorize our sensory data — it tells us what something is or what’s going on in any moment.
Once we acquire language, our perceptions are never completely empty — they are always based on previous data.
It can be helpful to start noticing our perceptions, especially of other people. AND begin to challenge them.
Try this simple practice walking down the street:
Notice people. Notice yourself in response. What thoughts, labels, assumptions, categorizations, and judgments arise? Are they true? How do you know? How did you learn that? Could the opposite be true? Is it? Rinse. Repeat.
If you’re anything like me, you move through the routine moments of your day with the (largely unconscious) idea to get to the next thing.
What if we approached more things as ritual rather than routine? This would require we get curious about everything.
That espresso you drink every day? What does it look like? How does it smell? What does your body feel like in anticipation of drinking it? And now, what does it taste like?
That walk to the subway? What don’t you notice? That woman on the corner with the too–big shoes? The sunlight streaming in between two buildings lighting a pile of bricks as if for a photo–shoot?
And what about the thoughts, sensations, emotions, experiences you don’t want to get close to… can you be curious about those too?
A stand of aspen trees is actually one large organism where the roots are a single life force.
From a standing position, imagine all the people and beings in your life as a field of aspen trees. Locating yourself among this field, sense your feet rooted into the earth and connecting with a root system that connects you to all of the other trees.
Now imagine that this root system is connected not only to those you know and love but to every single being and entity known and unknown.
Stand tall. Your branches and leaves reach up and around. There is air and space around you but everything is connected underneath, within.
Can you feel space and contact? Can you feel independent and connected? Can you belong?
Dance is meditation, is ritual, is ecstasy. Dance is nature.
In most cultures, everyone dances. We have made it about skill and performance only (not that either of those are bad things).
But dance is about about dropping masks and entering into new possibilities and connections with our bodies, ourselves, and each other. It’s about opening up.
Dance in your room. Dance in your chair. Dance with your hands. Dance with your eyes. Dance with your toes.
I dare you. Actually, I dare me.
Living in harmony with the seasons is so challenging in a city and world that functions at the same fast pace all year round (and even speeds up when nature is slowing down and slows down when nature is speeding up).
Often, duty and momentum set in with plans and schedules. Saying no, letting go of obligations, cancelling appointments — these can feel like revolutionary acts. They often are.
Are you making a decision or struggling with an issue?
Sit or lay down on your back and come into connection with your whole body. Take some slow breaths to really feel into any sensations that are arising in the body.
Sense the contact with the chair or floor. Where is there pressure where your body meets the ground or structure holding you? What does it feel like? Notice (without needing to change anything) if one side (left or right; top or bottom) or part of the body feels heavier or more in contact. Where is the back of the of the body not touching? What does that feel like? How does the front of the body feel? Follow the breath in the front of the body for some breaths… Can you hang out here for a while without rushing away?
Bring your awareness to the belly. What are the sensations? If there’s tightness just breathe into it, letting go with a long exhale. What color, flavor or description would you give what you feel?
Can you make your decision or inquiry from this place?
Pause. Right now. Or right now.
Or, ok, later. But pause. Really!
Let go of the mad rushing of heart-mind-body. Let go of the racing emotions-thoughts.
Pause. And listen. Can you sense what is there? Can you let go (again and again) of any doing, of getting to, of gaining?
Listen to the body. Listen to the heart.
Presence is there. She’s waiting for you.