I accepted an Insight Timer friend request from a user in Oklahoma called Rowdy 311.
It must be a guy, if only because I refuse to believe any woman, ever, thought, “Ooohhh, Rowdy 311 isn’t taken. I’ll use that as my username on a meditation app.”
He’s toned it down recently, but for a while there, rarely a day went by without a little missive from Rowdy. He sends a smiley or the pre-made “Thanks for meditating with me” salute we Insight Timer users trade.
The whole arrangement is creepy. I’d prefer Rowdy have a headshot, even if it isn’t actually of him. Regardless, I got curious and enlarged the picture he does provide. It was this of quote:
Meditation is nothing but taking a mental shower.
Speaking of the west, physical showering happens once a day, maybe more, here. The reasons range from the no-brainer variety: you just played football and you’re covered in mud, to the emotional: a hot shower after a long day makes you feel better. Simple enough. Here’s the fun perspective shift:
- What if meditation were your baseline of personal mental hygiene? A routine you performed without questioning its necessity? A daily action you never tried to get out of?
- What if meditation improved your mood, made you feel cozy and relaxed?
- What if meditation wiped off the gunk of existence?
- What if you wouldn’t dream of leaving the house for: a date, job interview, doctor’s appointment, without having done it?
Why not clean our minds? They get just as clogged and disorganized as our physical selves.
The pose begins when you want to leave it. — B.K.S. Iyengar
This one’s a little grouchy. It sounds like what a Division I coach says to his, I don’t know, synchronized swimming team?
But it’s true. The moment you want to leave is when all that mindfulness stuff fires up. You’re aware of exactly how much your thigh aches, burns, shakes. Maybe all three.
Stay put. Keep watching. Because when you choose to witness instead of flee, you see what you’re made of.
Hanging tight, you move away from the freaked-out mind’s propaganda of This is bad. We are very uncomfortable. Let’s leave.
The questions become: how comprehensively can you ignore your panic-stricken brain? How calm can you stay under pressure?
Eventually, the mind settles down. But don’t worry. You’ll still be in the pose when it does. And as the Abort mission! chatter subsides, you’ll pull from the depths of your experience and abilities.
And if you really hold out, you’ll feel your body do its version of, Fine. Since you aren’t getting out of warrior two pose, I’ll cooperate. Your thighbone is now parallel to the floor. Happy?
Then, you sink deeper into the lunge, turn farther into the twist, stretch longer down your spine.
Make your breath a lullaby for your brain.
A yoga teacher said this in class and I was too spaced out afterward to ask for attribution. And, fun thing I learned: Googling anything including “brain” and “lullaby” just gives you loads of baby Mozart results.
Unknown source notwithstanding, this is the single best reminder to breathe that I’ve come across. And I’ve seen a lot.
It works because in a single, sweet image (lullaby) you instantly understand your breath’s affect on your brain.
Sure, breath is the brain’s kryptonite. But don’t relax yet. This is not a one-shot deal. As anyone who’s ever (desperately) employed a lullaby knows, repeated applications might be necessary. Like, many applications. An entire songbook, even.
And that’s what makes this quote a realistic assessment. Because you’re constantly reminding yourself about the breath. It’s a life-long remember-forget-remember cycle. So get used to it. And keep this idea in mind along the way.
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