Saturday, June 20, 2009

D.U.I.Y. (Driving Under the Influence of Yoga)

My road of life metaphor thread continues.

The other night following my Yoga class, I was feeling especially good. There was an elevated sense of alertness, and at the same time a feeling of extreme peacefulness. I felt the effect so strongly, I put my window down so the wind would stimulate me, keeping me alert to the road. I laughed at my own thought that I was driving under the influence of Yoga and hoped I wouldn't be pulled over.

Driving the metaphorical road of life under the influence of Yoga seems like a good idea to me since I feel so good....peaceful and yet fully alive. What a joy it is to live within a state of mind that does not contemplate harm or judgment of oneself or another, but rather experiencing life fully. The absence of the need to compare is also a plus, since for many the typical road of life causes people to constantly look over their shoulder.

Other Yoga practice benefits come from an inner focus centered on breathing, movement and presence in any given moment, simultaneously. There is a very sacred honoring and integration of one's body, mind and spirit that takes place. Maybe if we all made this our practice for ourselves, we would honor each other more too.

I managed to drive home safely with no threat to anyone else on the road. Had I been pulled over for D.U.I.Y., I wonder if there would be a breath test to determine my level of inner peace. Even if there was, I'm sure it's legal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuned Into the Shift

My son has always been tuned into mechanical things and how they work. When he was just a toddler, strapped into his car seat, he was giving me advice on how to drive.

One day I was driving the back roads of Tioga County in my standard shift 1981 Volvo. I was going uphill and the engine was straining a bit in fourth gear. Just before I put my hand on the gear shift, I heard a small voice come from the backseat, saying "Downshift, Mommy".

I was amazed that my three year old child was tuned in enough to hear the engine and know what the car needed in the moment. It was a memorable lesson for me that when we are tuned in to life, we also have a sense of what is needed in any moment.

Our signals to shift in life are often subtle, so we must pay close attention and not fall asleep at the wheel.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Foggy Road

It was barely daylight as I found myself swallowed up by a dense fog driving to Yoga class early this morning. As I drove the 15 miles, I remembered how fog used to terrify me. Now I find it beautiful and kind of mysterious. Metaphorically speaking, what was even more frightening was when I couldn't see what was up ahead on the road of my life.

Both roads... the real one in the fog, and the one that exists in my head, are much easier to travel since my fear level has diminished significantly and I trust more.

When you drive in fog, even though you may not be able to see what's coming up ahead, you just use the lines on the side of the road as your guide. In life, you simply focus on where you are "now". Navigating through the fog of life, many of us feel more secure if we know what's ahead, so we can plan and prepare. We tend not to like surprises since they weren't in our plan and we fear we can't handle it. When we simply trust our intuition and God we are always directed in a way that will ultimately serve us.

I've found that in order to live peacefully, accepting what shows up on the path, steering around some things (when possible), stopping or turning around, are all options to consider. The truth is we can't predict what may show up or what the right course will be until we're actually there, so why try to predict or worry about the possibilities?

The beautiful thing about nature is that fog comes and goes, as does all elements. On my morning drive home, there were spots along the way that I drove out of the fog and into the sunshine where I could see clearly without confusion or any disorientation...also as it is in life.

My happily and peacefully.....remember to slow down or pull over when you need to, keep your lights on and don't panic. All fog eventually lifts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Pulse of Bliss

I have sometimes wondered what happens to the functioning of my body when I am experiencing bliss while in meditation or prayer. What happens to my organs and my circulation? Does my heart rest as my mind ceases to chatter?

This morning I made a scientific discovery that indeed my pulse slows significantly when experiencing bliss. I happened to be wearing my sports watch having just completed a workout prior to sitting down to enjoy my quiet time. When complete, I pressed on the pulse button to check my heart rate. My first check showed my pulse to be at 50 (normal is least it was when I was in nursing school a gazillion years ago) As I slowly returned to a more alert state, it gradually increased to 72.

I enjoyed this discovery since it made ne think about how often I am running around taking care of the obligations of life and over taxing my mind with varied thoughts. When in this state of busyness I can't even get a whiff of bliss. What's happening to my body then? I know some activity is healthy, and actually pushing my heart to beat faster with vigorous exercise is also important, yet the realization of how willing my heart's pulse is to slow down and rest, feels very comforting.

The beauty of experiencing the pulse of bliss is available to all of us. Resting in stillness, even if for just a few minutes every day will give our hearts a lovely rest from it's usual hard working routine.

My heart looks forward to it's next opportunity to rest in bliss. How about yours?