Saying Goodbye to The Lone Tyranny of The Mind
My mind has been a semi-benevolent dictator over myself and my life pretty much as long as it can remember. In the past, my body and spirit have been quiet, placid passengers on my mind’s adventures.
(Still from the movie The Brain From Planet Arous)
Actually, sometimes it feels like my mind is that big and hovering over me like that….
But thanks to yoga, paired with spiritual practice, that is changing.
I really felt the shift more powerfully in my daily yoga practice recently, where more and more I let go of watching the timer. (My mind really likes the timer, and clocks, not only because it wants to rush through those icky non-mind activities, but because time is information and a way to organize things. Measuring, counting, judging is one of the mind’s great tyrannies and ways to control.) And more and more I simply find the joy of exploring the asanas and my body’s actions and presence while doing them.
Bit by bit in my practice of yoga my body has been waking up. Parts of my body long tight, invisible and ignored – loosen and awaken. Connections long severed, or at least underdeveloped, grow. And slowly I feel present in my body and enjoy being active in it. I continue to surprise myself by learning what I can do and striving to do what I couldn’t before but can now or what I can’t do yet but now have faith I will be able to do in the future.
While at the same time I’m experiencing a subtle awakening of my spiritual self as I develop different spiritual practices in complement to my yoga ones. Since I’m not studying under any particular teacher like I am in yoga those explorations are varied and haphazard but nonetheless growing dramatically in their impact too. Meditation, journeying, energy work, prayer and more all becomes delightful tools for unlocking new treasures of the spirit and heart.
Sometimes traditions emphasize practices aimed just at quieting the mind and ignoring the body to develop the spirit. But I’ve never been one for that because I believe we have bodies and minds for a reason and part of the experience of life is developing them and working with them. You can achieve a balance and a quieting of the mind’s control by also strengthening the body and spirit. Then you can have a partnership.
In the brave new world that I’ve been entering via yoga, I’m finding that my body and spirit want to do things for development not just the mind desires.. My mind wasn’t happy at first, but learning that doesn’t have to run the show and that nothing bad will happen has been part of its growth too. 🙂
I can’t say it is always a beautiful symbolic blending of mind, body and spirit…more often it is very much like the Odd Couple wrought with amusing and bemusing pulling in different directions, but I know I’m having way more fun with all the new things in my life this brings.