An awaiting, a hope, anticipation, a vision into some future state...
Notice when you read these words what sort of feelings they invoke in your physical body and mental state.
Here's how it manifests in me; tightening of jaw, leaning forward in the shoulders, my mind shoots off into the future. Am I in the present moment, content, and at peace? No. I am anticipating, wondering, hoping, worrying. If this is not you, congratulations! (And this article is probably a waste of your time, so continue no further.) If it is you, I'd offer up the following practice:
- Breath - First notice your breath. I often remind my students to notice the quality and texture of the breath. Is it shallow or deep, is it labored or smooth? Stop what you are doing, for just a moment, and breath in for a count of 5. Now see if you can match or exceed your exhale for a count of 5 or 6.
- Observe - What happens to your posture after a few rounds of breath? What happens to your mental state? Still leaning forward? Send the shoulders back, bring the chin parallel with the floor.
- Soften - Notice if your'e holding tension in your body. Are you expecting yourself to sit in a perfect lotus posture? Are you holding your body rigid? Find some subtle movement. Find a sitting position that feels good. If sitting just doesn't feel good, no matter how you may prop yourself up, lay down on your back, bend the knees place the souls of the feet wide and let the knees knock together. Relax.
- Practice - This isn't an automatic response for most of us. We get stressed, we worry, we expect ourselves to be perfect. We forget what we are doing, why we are here, we forget our purpose. If we are lucky enough to notice this whirlwind of thought, we come back to the practice. We start with the breath again, we observe again, we soften again, we practice, over and over.
In this way, we may learn to slow down, and further the ability to enjoy the present moment. This practice will move us from the anticipatory state of some illusory idea of perfect, to an appreciation of what is. This is a softening in itself. We move away from a binary lens; good and bad, black and white. We move away from judgment. We move into a state of seeking to understand. We move closer to our natural state, which is love.
I urge you to ponder one final thought. Roll this around in your mind, on your tongue, feel it pass down your throat and fill up your belly, feel it shoot down your legs and through the souls of your precious feet:
"I do not care, at all, if you are male or female, young or old, fat or thin, tall or short. I do not care what you call yourself or how you dress. I do not care what language you speak or what you make important in your life. I am interested only in your heart, in your love, in your compassion. It is here, in this place, that we truly are the same." -- Michael Kewley