“Life happens now and in this moment from breath to breath and in the space in between.” Learning this in my daily practice of Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga has been enlightening, calming, reassuring and comforting. Continuing to practice with alternating days of a Gym Workout and Meditation on one, and the next a Yoga day; I’m finding the benefits increasingly cumulative. Interestingly, when I began this inspiring 8-week MBSR course, on day 6, I had a minor car accident, which left me with a swollen and painful hand and wrist. The timing was serendipitous as we began the formal exercise of body scan and the sitting meditation.
I know that by practicing Meditation or Yoga every day, it really strengthens me and allows me to be more resistant and resourceful, more positive and free flowing. Where I am very disciplined about most physical and mental endeavors, I can now be more flexible and less rigid about timing and things fitting into my schedule. It’s ok to have a range of time every day to practice and have that expectancy without any expectations. Initially when my injury occurred I had a lot of fear around how long it would take to heal and how I would be able to do Yoga, or even sit on pillows to meditate. And then the course progressed onto, “soften, soothe, allow”, and the, “Five Step Pain Process”, and I really just let it all go and allowed and trusted that without resistance, my body and mind would heal me in time; and it has.
And just through this very real example of being kind to myself, acknowledging and respecting the process of releasing physical and emotional pain by self-comforting and self-soothing, I am feeling few painful sensations. When needed, I just go with it, without judgment, or trying too hard, and whatever it is, just dissolves. I’m learning experientially, how easy it is to change an old habit just by daily practicing a positive new one, and Mindfulness Meditation has really reinforced this for me in ways that I never anticipated. Intellectually, I’ve read and studied Neuroplasticity, but as a result of this disciplined practice, it’s really come home for me. I am aware that it is so easy to fall back into old patterns unless a new neural pathway is established, repeated over and over and strengthened; hence my desire and motivation to continue on. And this pathway has also sparked my motivation to continue to enrich my learning going forward.
This daily practice has accomplished just that, another new positive pathway for which I have benefitted and will continue to follow. The visualizations of softening the edges of pain or discomfort and allowing them to manifest as just another sensation, like feeling a cold wind upon your face, gives it a temporary existence. Moving in new and challenging ways can be likened to the weather changing from thunder and lightening to a beautiful rainbow within seconds. Just as the time of day changes, second by second, so too does every sensation we experience. Just by accepting what is for the moment, be it the same or different, sunny or rainy, beautiful or blustery, stormy or peaceful, windy or calm; it’s like a metaphor going forward. For me, this experience of Mindfulness Meditation has been at times, just what I expected and at other times a surprise, and yet not a foreign concept. It’s really been all about the practice and the enjoyment during each focused and absorbed moment of the experience.
And then there’s the after glow, the flow on effects. Sometimes, I feel so exhilarated it’s indescribable and other times I just feel in a state of Zen. It’s all so real and ok now, and it’s fine to have, “off” days too, or days of… “Existence”. On a personal level, I will continue this practice for myself and share my experiences with my friends, family, colleagues and clients, just as this course was shared freely with me. I appreciate and respect the time and thought that has gone into this MBSR course with all the practices, video’s and readings, insights and editorials from the author, Dave Potter. I know that Dave and many before him and after him, including me, can all help to create a better and more peaceful life for us, and the planet, through the individual art and practice of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
Thank you to Dave for his heartfelt and inspirational gift of this 8-week course in MBSR; I am very grateful for him and for all of his scholarly writers and contributors.