It had been a while since I had myself guided a class on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and having done so recently I was reminded of just how important it is to not let any moment pass you by.
Imagine… you’re in a pod on one of the world’s tallest observation wheels, making shapes, breathing and meditating while you soar above the world’s [second] most liveable city on display to you in panoramic view. On this particular day there was more blue sky than there were clouds in it, and even after more than 10 years of living here, Melbourne had never looked so beautiful.
I just remember feeling so present. So awake. My teaching was on point, I was feeling everything I was offering and I like to think my students were too. Looking back now I realise my usual mind-stuff wasn’t getting in my way, I was truly in the moment and there was no where else I wanted to be.
This is something I have started to experience more since I started teaching yoga.. because when you’re sharing and embodying something you love and value so dearly there is nothing more to do than what you’re doing! There is no space for thought.
Sure, I have moments of clarity but I remain a work in progress. In fact, I would say the most over-used statement in vocabulary of my life is “what if”. I am a total worry wart.. which is why I practice yoga. So I can keep coming back to my truth.
"We’re totally asleep, living in dreamland all day long, all life long. We’ve completely identified with the clouds and we never see the sky. We might have a feeling it’s there but we never look at it. The clouds are our thoughts and our emotions. The sky is our true nature."
~ Krishna Das
So for me, during this particular experience, there were hardly any clouds in sight. But for the most part, every single day I have to come back. Every minute I have to come back. Every second I have to come back. Back to the truest part of myself that resides deep within me.
It’s pretty interesting when I consider that I am the only person to have ever experienced Lydia in her truest incarnation. No one else, not even my husband, will ever meet her. As much as we think we can be “ourself” around the people we love most in our lives… really, there will always be a version of you those you love haven’t met and never will.
But I am okay with that because I know she’s in there and I know how to come back. And each time I come back, I get to know her a little more. She’s all mine.
But to come back to the present moment and defy the obstacles of your mind is tough.
We live in world full of “what’s next”, “why not” or “what if”. Technology and social media fills up our mind space with information (notice how I didn't say knowledge? Information, that for the most part, adds a whole lotta not much to our lives.
We’ve forgotten how not to be distracted, forgotten how to sit with ourselves and instead we focus more on the external landscape than we do the vast and beautiful landscape within us.
While we can waste away hours googling, YouTubing or Instagramming, there is no magic online search engine for ourselves. Rather, its only a spiritual practice that facilitates the [re] discovery of you.
“Living inside your body is like living in China and only being able to speak English.”
~ Gena Kenny, Ohana Yoga Melbourne.
The language of the physical, spiritual, mental, emotional and energetic bodies (our multiple layers or ‘koshas’) is so complex that, and like Chinese probably, it would take us a lifetime to learn it. So you’d better get busy learning.
It’s when we start to learn the language of all of our bodies (or sheaths) that we start to listen in and become more aware of what drives us, what challenges us, what distracts us and just what constructs, values and past experiences form the basis for the direction our thoughts take us in.
”It is only through the mirror of yoga that the whole man reflects to know himself.”
~ B.K.S Iyengar
Through the practice of listening in, we are more in-tune and more aware that the thoughts we have and the things we feel (physically and emotionally) are just thoughts and they're just feelings. They don’t define us nor do they control us if we decide not to let them.
Suddenly, we can feel love where there is hate, anger or fear or gratitude where there is impatience, perceived limitation or inadequacy. Life fills with joy.
The day that you decide that you are more interested in being more aware of your thoughts - than you are in the thoughts themselves..this is the day you find your way out.
~ Michael Singer, Author, The Untethered Soul,
The trick is to keep coming back so much that eventually coming back feels like the most natural thing to do. Kind of like going to your favourite restaurant. You keep going back because you know the food is good and you’ll have a great experience. The same can be said for yourself. Eventually you fall in love with your true nature and then you can’t live without it.
The only thing to do is to keep coming back….
My tips for coming back:
Sit in meditation for just one minute, tracing your breath and noticing your thoughts float on by. Notice them float in and then out again.
Take just one deep breath.
Count back from 10 slowly.
Point and flex all 10 toes and come back into your body.
Ask your partner or friend to call you out when you start floating away to the land of “what if”.
Smile at or say hello to a stranger to connect back into the moment (and with someone else!)
With your preferred hand bring your index and middle fingers together and tap both finger tips softly into your eye brow centre and then your temple about 10 times.