22 June, 2012

Always anxious for the next now

Today was Power Vinyasa with Cassandra.

Some of you have been thinking about being here in class all day...
And now you can't wait to get out of here.

It's funny how we're that way. So much anticipation. So much "looking forward." It's considered not only acceptable, but desirable, to talk about positive things in the context of "I'm really looking forward to that." But when we think about the concept of "looking forward" through the lens of yoga and meditation, what we're essentially saying is "not being here now." There's some other place we'd rather be, and we're going to think about that instead.

I've caught myself doing that so many times. I have even caught myself "looking forward" to the next time I am going to do something pleasurable while I am in the middle of doing it! I can remember times, in Hawaii, where I was snorkeling, and thinking about where I was going to snorkel again later. Wondering if it was going to be good.

So it's not just that we look forward in order to avoid unpleasant feelings in this moment. We just look forward, in spite of ourselves! However, it's definitely true, that we do the dreaming, fantasizing, and escapism most when we're having a hard time: suffering, sad, in pain, depressed, overworked.

Cassandra mentioned how one of her mentors once said to her:

Sometimes you just need to be okay with feeling bad...

And, really, it's not so much that we should be striving to feel bad. Right? It is just that there will be times where life is uncomfortable. Part of what we're trying to do on the mat (it would seem, the largest part) is to become more aware, and to feel whatever it is that we are feeling. Not to run from it. Not to replace it with other thoughts or sensations.

That's why yoga and meditation are aptly referred to as "practice."

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