I often get asked why I meditate. Rather than giving a text book answer, I try to respond from my current experience. Here is today’s response.
I experienced a couple of stressful events yesterday. Somebody who had expressed interest in my next mindfulness course decided that it wasn’t for them. Disappointment arrived, along with mild frustration as marketing isn’t a strength of mine. Soon after, I was driving to meet a prospective client and I got a puncture. Cue stress, not knowing what to do and a hint of vulnerability. Thank you to Aidan from Green Flag and the Kwik Fit chaps in West Wickham who sorted out my car.
When I woke up this morning I could feel a stress hangover. There was tightness in my torso, my forehead was tense and I felt edgy and a little irritable. I was still holding on to yesterday’s problems.
Some of the tension eased during my yoga practice: gently working the body gently works your emotions. Twists often allow disappointment and sadness to emerge for me. Allowing our emotions to be here, identifying and exploring them with gentle kindness rather than pushing them away or ignoring them, means that they typically ease off on their own, like holding a crying baby rather than yelling at it to shut up.
And then I meditated and dived deep into my emotions and the impact they were having on my body. I observed where they were showing themselves, noticing their precise locations and that they moved around – aha, they weren’t static, they kept changing. And within a few moments of me exploring them, their intensity mellowed and softened. That wasn’t my aim: any striving to make my emotions disappear would only have created additional tension. My intention was to see, know and hold any emotions present in a curious and kind awareness. That was all they wanted and most of them quietly left.
Some dissatisfaction remained.”OK, this moment is like this. Dissatisfaction is here.” Acceptance brings a release from struggling with wishing this moment was different. There is release because I’m no longer fighting it. Acceptance of the present moment doesn’t mean passivity. In fact, seeing this moment with clarity means that we are more able to take wise action in the next moment.
So, my mindfulness practice today has brought ease from stress, both physically and emotionally, along with a spot of equanimity and clarity.
That’s why I meditate: to live more at ease with whatever I am experiencing.
How about you – what are your reasons today?
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