So in the past week alone I have taught a couple of young ladies how to meditate along with teaching them yoga. One was a young 21 year old who has just started coming to yoga about a month ago. She came to yoga nidra the other night and as we were leaving she left the studio and said “have these pictures always been here?” I smiled Yes they have. That is the practice. The stillness has a profound impact on our awareness. We improve our awareness and with that our senses are clearer. So seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling improve. So in one class she was seeing things she had walked by without any thought so many times before. Then she shared with me that during the meditation where I had her imagine a flower she saw a caterpillar on her flower. She said then it changed into a butterfly and flew away. Being still we can tap into other parts of our mind that we weren’t paying attention too. I love that she was so aware of the experience and shared it with me. I know she is dealing with a lot in her home life and the gentle yoga and nidra are helping her to find places of stillness.
For me that is just what meditation has done for me. It has allowed me to stop doing what human nature often does, which is blame, avoid, deny or push away. Instead I have learned to pause the conversation or thought and turn towards the experience. As if you were heading into it and saying “come on – I am not afraid to see you”. By being with the here and now we learn that it won’t destroy us and it will move on and change.
Another woman is at a drug/alcohol rehab center and I’ve been working with her for the past month in yoga classes. This morning though we did a bit of seated but slow moving meditation. She often tries so hard in class and I’ve seen a big improvement in her. She allowed herself to make mistakes and play today. She explained to me after class that she lost more weight which has her so worried because she is dealing with an eating disorder and therefore dealing with this frustration. Then she said that even though I didn’t mention it, while we were meditating the vision of a willow tree came into her mind. She said the willow tree bends and allows itself to go with the wind but always comes back to the middle. Again I smiled and she remembered the yoga lesson of tree I taught her before. Not a perfect tree – but one that changes. So she said all day today she was going to remind herself about the willow tree and stop being so focused on what she isn’t.
Embracing who we are right now, just as we are, imperfections and all, is the practice. Instead of focusing on being someone else or a different or better version of ourselves, the practice embraces that we are already there. We are already so many wonderful things if we just stopped long enough to be still and see it. Also we have an innate healing if we let ourselves let go of resisting the change.