13 January, 2015

Why is it so hard to stay in the moment?

Today was hot-el yoga in Boston.

I turned the thermostat in the room up to 80 degrees. I mean, why not, right?

Today's schedule left me no option but to do yoga after dinner, which is never a great idea, especially when dinner is heavy (Italian), and not completely without wine (Chianti). But you gotta do what you gotta do. I had the promise to myself that today was A YOGA DAY and that's just the way it goes.

Was pretty tired and didn't think I'd be able to concentrate. It's really shocking how constantly my mind wanders to other things -- anything! It could be coworkers, projects, my health, my family, what happened last night, what's happening tomorrow, whether I should go on vacation, booking work travel, etc. And that whole time, right in front of me is the entire practice. The pose that I'm doing that moment. The breath. The sensations in my body. And it's so so hard to keep locked into those things. I actually don't think it's that I am avoiding being with my sensations. I think it's that it has become a habit to "multitask." I (we) am (are) always trying to find ways of being more efficient. On the commute home it's the perfect time to plan the evening, or think about the day. On the treadmill at the gym (which I don't do anymore) is the perfect time to ponder all kinds of things. There's (supposedly) not enough time in the day, so I make it up by always doing two or more things at once. So, it's no surprise that I do the same thing on the yoga mat. Because it's the perfect time to focus on the same shit that I focus on every waking moment that I'm not fully engrossed in some mental task at hand.

Completely understandable.

But... not the practice.

And I'm working on how to remedy this. But it's hard. Because it's like an addiction. It would be so easy to say "I am going to try to focus 100% on whatever my task at hand is, from here going forward... when I am driving, I will focus entirely on the experience of the car, the road, the events in the visual and auditory field around me as I drive... when I am doing a project at work, I will place all of my attention on completing the task... when I am at dinner in a restaurant, I will completely immerse myself in the atmosphere, the conversation, the meal..." How could it not be great? But then I think, "You mean, I can't look at my phone? I can't check Facebook? I can't daydream?" And I don't know if I can do it.

So then the question becomes, "Well, perhaps if I work on doing it on the mat, I will become better at doing it off the mat." But one could also argue the opposite. But that's unlikely to happen, because the reason for "the mat" is to give us a (theoretically) simpler place to achieve these kinds of goals.

I am somewhat of a subscriber to the idea that if you want something badly enough, you'll achieve it. And that makes me wonder, "Do I not want to be present?" And if the answer is "No! I do want to be present!" then why am I not achieving it more quickly? And if the answer is "Correct. I do not want to be present." then why don't I want to be present? Why would I prefer to be all over the place but now? What is the goal?

What is the goal?


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