This weather isn’t making staying positive easier. I think we all feel it easier to be sunny inside when it is sunny outside. However we can also stay sunny inside by making sure we look after ourselves.
Maintaining a regular practice is for me the best way to keep smiling! I know that when life takes over and I forgo my morning practice due to being ‘too busy’, I feel slightly out of kilter all day. Getting that small amount of time for me, to re find me, on my mat allows me to reconnect to that peaceful place easier throughout the rest of the day. We all have things that the pace of modern living takes us away from; reading, either for yourself or to your children, walking the dog, gardening and appreciating the sheer beauty of each plant. Each moment. Remember when we were children and we spent hours indulging our senses in simple pleasures or absorbed in activities. It seems as though as we get older we get caught in the hectic pace of life, of expectation, of things that need to be done and emails that need to be answered. The more technology we have the more people expect instantaneous responses and immediate gratification. The joy of spending all day preparing a meal or pottering is often lost and the enjoyment of each moment is a pleasure that few people get a chance to remember regularly.
As children we are also more aware that what we see isn’t all there is. Children have imaginations and are able to allow their mind to expand beyond what is feasible. We imagine a stick as a horse, we make dens, we may see bogey men and scariness but generally our worlds are exciting as our minds are open. As we get older and we close our minds we become more fearful and less open. Less open to happiness and genuine absorption in life and more prone to staying within the comfort zone of what we know.
A question I ask myself when I find I have missed my practice is what I am running away from. What is the risk that I am scared to take. I may have allowed myself to get embroiled in the days activities, but was that actually because I was scared of being alone with myself. What was I not wanting to admit to myself; what risk was I running from. The closer we get to our connection with ourselves and the world. The scarier this is. Sometimes the individual life seems easier, to put up the barriers and allow ourselves to run away. Either mentally or physically, from the vast possibilities that arise from feeling the connection to the vast energy that is the universe. Finding the time to reflect upon this spiritual and extraordinary awareness is both reassuring and frightening. Sometimes it is seems as though it would be much easier to stay in the comfort zone. To distract ourselves with things, with being busy, with technology and Television and Facebook so we can live through our peoples lives. This actually allows us to stay within the confines of ourselves and not venture into the unknown, the quietness in our minds where we face our fears and our tendencies.
Seeing the world with the innocent eyes of a child, allowing yourself to be absorbed and in awe of the beauty of life is both amazing and scary. It means we have to open our hearts as well as our mind to possibility, to the unknown, to being different from the norm! “The most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” (Helen Keller). Yoga practice is a life practice, a practice of venturing into the unknown, of exploring the calmness within while engaging in the life outside more fully. We learn on our mats to immerse ourselves in the moment, to focus and turn inward. We learn to listen, to see and to accept that we both know and that what we know isn’t what is real! When I avoid that daily reminder, that lesson, I ask myself what I am running from. Why I feel the need to retract my life back to the comfort zone of avoidance and away from the risk of the unknown. I ask myself if I will be happy without the excitement and inner spacious peace that my practice provides me with. I ask myself, honestly, if I want to live with a constant knowledge that I am missing out because I am scared of the vastness of the happiness that could be possible.
As Buddha tells us “Our life is the creation of our mind”(The Dhammapada). We therefore need to keep our minds and hearts open for”Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.” (Thomas Dewar)
So when life becomes too busy to get to your weekly class or to find a few minutes of peace and alone time in each day. Ask yourself why. We are not going to be happy being alone with ourselves if we are running away from taking a risk. Do you want to live with that feeling of anxiety, of feeling disconnected, depressed and lethargic. Or do you want to feel at peace, energized and connected to a knowledge that is bigger than just you. To do so sit with fear, watch your pain and anxieties, learn from your breath and know that all will pass. Know that the solution could be found in yoga; learn to explore and get to know yourself, to turn inward and to be honest with yourself. Then you will find more happiness, more inner sunshine whatever the weather is doing outside!