I somehow felt better in myself this morning. More relaxed. There are a number of contributing factors – it’s Friday, I’m free again today, and I wrote two posts yesterday – but my uplifted mood (in spite of my son being awake again at 05:30) had its roots in what happened in the night. Woken in the darkness by the pain in my left hip, I managed to inhabit the discomfort and relax into it, just as I do continually with the exercise. So not only did the echoes of this week’s discipline make it into my half-awake state, their resonance was solid enough for me to consciously apply the fresh experience of the past few days.
Making breakfast, my knee twinged as I shifted to one side. Two thoughts occurred to me. Firstly: ‘I need to get back to fitness so that I can get back to the way things were (and I can do the things I was doing before).’ The second thought was this: ‘When I veer off the straight path, my knee goes.’ Combined, those thoughts provide the following insight:
Be wary of returning to the way things were. Maybe you are supposed to move on from those things and the pain is a powerful and effective way of preventing you from going back. Tread the new path instead. Furthermore, don’t deviate from what you know you need to be doing. Stay true to everything you know to be right about who you are and where you wish to go.
All that came before I did today’s exercise, which was another liberating and informative experience. I found it easy to relax into gravity’s field of influence, although its reassurance was gradually interrupted by an expectation. I noticed myself thinking: ’Maybe 30 minutes today’. How easily our previous experiences are turned into expectations for the future! And how easily those expectations taint our current experience. I had been delightfully shocked at the 21 minutes, pleasantly surprised by the 25 minutes, and mildly satisfied by the confirmation of today’s time: it was indeed 30 minutes. This is a perfect demonstration of the need for a beginner’s mind, free of supposition.
The length of time owed much to the distraction of my thoughts. But there was none of the frustration or disappointment I’d felt on Tuesday. Near the end, where yesterday there had been resentment, came a feeling of determination. It occurred as my focus was on the pelvis, and grew out of a distracted thought. My mind had created doubt about an event in the near future, and all of a sudden I became aware that my energy had consequently shifted up a gear or two. My determination – a self-protecting response to the doubt, fuelled inevitably with more than tinge of anger – was threatening to boil over but I saw it in time, relaxed, and watched it dissolve away.
(I was left reflecting on a 2003 entry which contains the line: ‘I saw for myself my will and determination to live and succeed.’ That was a purer determination, and the reminder of that day was both unexpected and gratefully received.)
I committed to recording these events because I knew it would heighten the whole experience. This latest encounter has shown me how much is available just by standing still; how much is available if we continue to explore; how much is available if we just listen. And if we do all that without any expectation of what we might find, we will always be taken to a place of surprise and wonder at who we are and who we can be.