Having been in the healing arts for over a decade, I’ve heard a lot of excuses. Why people can’t stretch, why they can’t do yoga and definitely, always, why they can’t meditate. When I hear the words start to spew I stand hopeful that I’ll hear one that I haven’t heard before BUT that never happens. The reason behind the resistance doesn’t really matter because the man behind the curtain is always the same.
Your ego does not want you to go to a yoga class. It can’t bear the risk of you experiencing a feeling of joining or a meditative state. It will take great measures to keep you out of the studio. If you somehow make it to a class, it will double its efforts to prevent a repeat performance. For the sake of light over dark, let’s say you make it to another class. You like it, you buy a mat, you realize that yoga clothes are the most comfortable clothes ever and you learn that the way you feel after class can be achieved anytime, anywhere, regardless of the circumstance. This feels good to every part of you besides your ego who will declare full on war.
For me, the battle with my ego has showed up in my dreams as a serial killer. The difference now is that when I go to run, my legs respond and I am fast. Before I had a knowing in these dreams that I would be murdered and now I stand without fear to face the killer. When I dream that I’m in a car, I’m in the drivers seat most of the time now which is a long way from being asleep in the back of a camper. A dream that showed me I was clearly not in control of my life.
The ego wants you to believe that you are it, when in fact, you are not. The good news is, the ego exists only in thoughts and simple mindfulness practices help you get beyond your thoughts or at least slow them way down. Just by slowing down your mind, huge shifts toward aligning with your true self will occur. When these shifts happen, everything in your life starts to ease. There will be less noise so that you can listen at a deeper level. From this state it is easy to see a life that flows with a lot less turbulence. Mindfulness by its nature invites you to be a conscious participant in your own life.
To be mindful means to be aware of something. To be present means to experience what is happening now. So in order to get present you must have a direct experience in awareness with something that is happening now. The easiest place to start is your breath. At any time, your breath is there, flowing in and out. Take one conscious breath and you’ll experience present moment awareness. From here your success lies in consistency. Take one conscious breath as soon as you wake up. Do it everyday. Build from there, one step at a time. Do it everyday.
After a decade of receiving and ignoring messages that I was supposed to meditate, I began a practice. I had dabbled in it several times in massage school and at the community church in Boulder with my sister. The place where I refused to repeat “Thank you god for you” to the person next to me. (ahem, ego!) I never thought I would be someone who meditates. After a series of events, nonetheless moving from the utopia of Boulder back to my roots in hard core New England, it was very clear that I needed to start a practice post haste. Fate would have it that there was a meditation teacher right down the street. So I made an appointment and I showed up to the appointment. I have never looked back which doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced resistance or spewed excuses but I have experienced life beyond the noise and that’s what keeps me coming back.
At first I didn’t think I had an ego and if I did, I wanted to keep it. I thought meditation would make me lose myself. I didn’t think I would be funny anymore and that I would be weak. I worried that I wouldn’t be good at it and that I wouldn’t have the time. Despite these feelings of doubt, I’ve remained consistent with my practice and today it rests in the highest priority above all else. I don’t want to feel a day without it.
My ego has not gone away and it rears its little head from time to time. I feel it try to cram its way into my business but I know it too well now. When it shows up, I see it for what it is, a thought. I’ve brought awareness to my actions and I’ve some major truths. In my dreams I sometimes still find myself in the back seat but for the majority of days I am a lean, mean, driving machine. I’ve let go of egoic behaviors like I never thought possible and live a life now that does not feel like work.