Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Am. In the Present.

There has been a recurring theme in my life. It comes in different faces, different messages, different situations, but it simply says this: 

Every day, we are all searching for that peace. One way or another, our minds are lagging behind in our past and skipping ahead into the future. All those to-do lists hanging over our heads, our regrets weighing down our hearts. Will it ever end?

It can, and it will… If you make that choice.

It is as simple as that. You make one choice. That choice to be within yourself, in the now, present and existing in this glorious world full of hope, love, sadness, anger, loneliness, and absolute joy. 

How do you know if thoughts about the past or future are positive? Simple, what are you feeling? Depression or nostalgia? Anxiety or hope?

I remind my student to notice their bodies, to realize they're sitting on their mat going from asana to asana. I ask them to look for tension within themselves whether in their muscles or in their minds. I tell them:

Notice it as you inhale. Release it as you exhale.

Breathe in and fill yourself up with the air that is around you right now. This air exists only in the now. The past and future are illusions of our minds. We invented them. We choose to call up painful memories and relive the negativity. We dive into our daydreams and lose sense of reality, responsibility, and self. We miss the very things going on right in front of us. So stop.

Inhale. Notice.

Exhale. Release.

Release the tension, the stress, the negativity, the memories and daydreams, the to-do lists and regrets. Release it all. 

Do you even remember what color your mat is? Will you walk out of class and forget everyone who shared the same sacred space as you?

Take a moment and ask yourself, "What is going on with me right now?" And then just observe. Remember ahimsa, loving kindness, and leave your judgement and criticism behind. Observe, notice, and be.

There, you will find the peace. It's been inside you all along.

Now, think of an image or word to see in your mind. Associate it with this beautiful feeling of peace. Concentrate upon this, breathing deeply. Inhaling and noticing. Exhaling and releasing.

Make a physical representation of this word or picture. You can draw it, paint it, sculpt it, write it, scrawl it across your mirror in dry erase markers. Concentrate on this physical reminder and find that feeling of peace.

Whenever you go through your daily life, call up that positive word or image as you start to spiral down into depression or anxiety. Concentrate, or meditate, upon it for even just thirty seconds. Find that peace and let it infuse you.

Search for more inspirational quotes from Lao Tzu. Another heart-hitting book is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I read this for my Yoga Teacher Training and it was very hard for me to understand at first, but with persistent reading, it finally came together and opened my eyes.

Do you have any good quotes, books, or messages to share on this theme?