13 August 2012

Why rush?

Our final destination will only be the graveyard.

Why not walk in the direction of life, enjoying peace in each moment with every step?... Enjoy each step. We have already arrived.

Isn't that so true? Rushing is horrible! Always striving is exhausting! The quote above was written by Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

I have lived much of my life putting something ahead of myself and running after it. But apparently there's a Buddhist word, apranihita, that means exactly the opposite, and Buddhists recommend it. Be aimless, or wishless: just hang out in the here and now, and notice it.

I think it's possible to be a high achiever and strive for goals, but still have a bit of apranihita each day or week.

I went to my yoga class tonight. I may have looked and sounded like I was doing the right thing, because all the Ashtanga yoga movements are done in time with your breathing (breathe in - lift arms - breathe out - bend forwards etc). But my crazy mind was everywhere (e.g. what shall I write for my blog tonight? Oh no, I can't think of anything to write about...), and that is not very yogi!


So I remembered some of Thich's advice. Focus on the breath. Breathe in, and let your thoughts sink down to your belly. Mine went from the basin of my head down the plughole of my throat into the drainpipe of my belly. It felt good - an effective way to get rid of those nuisance musings. Breathe out, and feel your body and mind become full of light, or peace, or energy.

Actually I just read what the book actually says as opposed to what I remembered: 'As you breathe in, quietly say 'Resting" while allowing all of your mental activities to rest in your abdomen. Then, during the while length of your out-breath, quietly say "Softening" as your body relaxes and becomes as soft as a baby's.'

Even a few such breaths a day - while sitting, or even walking - gives the mind a well-deserved rest from its endless, self-inflicted chatter.



Not a yoga pose, but I wanted to look at you.
These photos weren't actually taken in the yoga class, but at home by my husband just now. The background was probably a giveaway!

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