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One Friday night, after about an hour of enjoying a gentle home practice, I was entering into that space of meditative stillnes I have come to crave. This is coming from a girl who used to live for the nightlife back in college, by the way. I slid my shoulders down my back, and felt my breath and body sink deeper into position on my cushion, my mat, and the hardwood floor beneath me.
I felt supported.
Each breath became slower and slower, as I eased into a comfortable rhythm... as comfortable as one can get with regular shortness of breath and chronic joint pain from many years of gymnastics as a youngin'. Truthfully, it felt wonderful. Then, even the awareness of my somatic 'okayness' slipped into what I hoped would be a beautiful silence.
All of a sudden, as a if a roaring thunder was slamming into my body, I became cognizant of this deep, bass-like hum from the computer on the other side of the room to my left. I could literally feel the hair on my neck reacting to this low drone that swiped away the serenity I had just experienced for a fleeting second.
I became irritated.
I soon realized that this unrelenting sense perception takeover was not finished with me (as most things are not, providing the lesson has yet to be learned). My duality-laden mind began perceiving the most glorious smell imaginable - fresh chana masala with coconut cilantro rice, swirling into my nostrils from the kitchen on my right.
Of course, I just cooked it.
Obviously, I left the computer on. Purposely, at that! I was downloading a movie.
During my asana practice, I was blissfully aware of my kinesthetic and spatial existence moving in tandem with my breath and gaze. Even in pranayama, I was working with so much sensation and the deep-rooted emotional gunk (still oh-so-at home in the bottom of my lungs), that none of these distractions took me away from the moment.
However, there I sat. I was artfully sandwiched between my self-diagnosed technology addiction and my obvious addiction to rich, creamy, south Indian food. I felt my mind pulling me away from stillness.
"I wonder if my download is finished... I wonder if I put too many chilis in the masala..." And so on.
In between the oscillating thoughts, cravings, and reactions, I noticed my mind would center into quietude in between the nonsense.
Crossing over the edge between yin and yang, lunar and solar, grasping and averting, I remembered that one of my teachers had told me that our mission is to learn to be kind to our one body vessel and to find our unique balance within that precious space given to us.
Your unique expression of balance is different than mine, and different from the next person. This is what makes following the middle path both a challenging and magnificent journey for all.
In this circumstance, I gave myself credit for attempting a sitting meditation, even if only for a few moments, nonetheless completing a full asana practice after a full day's work and cooking dinner.
After surrendering to the nature of mind, or maybe it was the coconut cilantro rice calling my name (in addition to balance, I'm also working on complete honesty), I eventually stepped off of my meditation cushion, savored my dinner with a movie, and met with my own middle path experience on a lovely Friday night.
If you are looking for a way to start or deepen your daily meditation - take a
look at this program by MindValley: bit.ly/YOGIMeditation and the Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction online course by Sounds True: - The YOGI TIMES team