Friday, August 26, 2011

Insane in the membrane

I've been stuck in my own brain. Literally trapped. And now I feel silly and selfish.

We yoga teachers talk about being present, moving out of our swirling thoughts about the past and future, worries, destructive fears, comparing ourselves to others in the room. But the thing is, we have those thoughts ourselves. Often we tell our students what we need to hear ourselves the most. And this is why we must return to the mat, each day, even if it's just for five minutes.

When a yoga practitioner unfolds his or her mat, they look forward to the opportunity to sweat and stretch through the poses. Some may just desire a good workout or to be more flexible. But the "asanas" were originally designed to exhaust and open our bodies, so we can sit still, relax, and quiet the mind for meditation. On the mat we finally find a safe place to release what we call our "monkey mind."

This phrase describes the constant chatter in our heads that tells us we're not good enough, runs through our busy schedule backwards and forwards, calculates our finances, and obsesses over relationship woes.

And this is where I've been, stuck in my monkey mind and worrying about what others do, say, and think about my life and the decisions I make.

However, as the wise ones have told me, at the end of the day, we are the only ones responsible for the outcome of our lives. There is no point of obsessing over yesterday, or worrying about tomorrow. And if we brood over our mind's obsessions, we miss everything that's going on around us in the present.

Today is a gift. It is a blessing to be alive with a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes on my back, and so many people who care about me. If I project my worries and fears on other people, or create a story in my head about how or who they are, they won't have half a chance to teach me an important lesson I might need to learn. Or I might miss out on the most amazing opportunity of my life, just because I think I know everything about how something is.

So I shall keep returning to my mat each day to get out of my head and back into the world around me. And at the same time, just focus on me and being the best person I can be. I'm here to make a huge impact on the world, not to live in the little shoebox of my insecurities, fears, and regrets.

What about you?

How could you better serve the world if you spent less time in your head and more time in your heart and surroundings?

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