Ayurveda, the original health care system developed by the Indian sages over 1200 years ago, looks to the rhythms of the day, of the season, and of the body to ensure wellness in the body-mind continuum. An extraordinary system of health care, it teaches us to observe nature, where there are so many clues for healthful living. Night is shrouded in darkness— then the sun rises. The light comes and shifts and travels through the sky. Finally, the sun sets; light is released from the day. Darkness and night return. It changes. It passes through. We let it come and we let it go.
However, as we attempt to hold onto what is, as we struggle to analyze and codify the moment, we interrupt the natural fluidity of things. We inevitably create suffering. It seems our practice as mindful people must be to cultivate the stance of non-judgmental observation. This perspective offers us a more hands-off relationship with our minds and with the moment; both become places to watch and, with radical acceptance, accept and realign. From relaxed acceptance, everything becomes possible.
It’s coming to pass—it’s not coming to stay. Fighting against reality, pushing against the moment, makes everything harder. Just like yoga on the mat, when the sensations build, fighting against them, struggling to overcome them only increases the struggle. Relaxing into what is allows the transmutation of feelings through our body, as well as circumstances though our lives.
How can we relax into the fluidity of the moment? How can we cooperate with life such that the moment flows more ease-fully? Here are some simple strategies to struggle less and to savor more:
This is the best intervention we have; as the sensations build, as you notice feelings rising in your body and/or thoughts racing through your mind, take three deep and long breaths. This will shift us out of the sympathetic nervous system (fight—flight—freeze) and into the parasympathetic nervous system (rest—digest).
- Body-centered relaxation
A Twelve Step slogan says, “Move a muscle, change a thought”. Movement will quiet the mind, releasing the tension in the body. Move—do something fun. Walk, run, swim, dance, play. Play! Play in your body, rather than in your mind.
Reframe discipline as the loving gift of practice. What pillar of self-care needs your kind attention today? Nutrition? Movement? Stress Reduction? Sleep? Consider which is the wobbliest of pillars. Give yourself one simple gift in this arena. Do it today, as a presentation of lovingkindness, to you, from you.
And now, we practice. We simply notice and do our best, allowing our brains, our bodies and our behavior to relax into life, just a little more.
Dear Readers, please let me know what resonates with you in this blog. To what pillar of self-care are you committed? What would that look like? What’s body-centered fun today? Do you have a particular practice of mindful breathing that works for you? As always, please do let me know. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.
May you ride the waves
of your life,