After six weeks of daily practice I am not better at meditation.
And what a relief. Better doesn’t exist. Consistent? Absolutely. More focused/clear/enlightened? Never. Every meditation is starting from scratch. No matter how much I meditate, sometimes my mind is at war and all I can think of is how I’d decorate a tiny house or what I would wear to Burning Man.
“Better” at asana might exist. I feel bendy, strong and right in my body. I have high hopes for maintaining practice as we travel. Sometimes I worry that when my daily intention isn’t based in exercise I risk losing this feeling of competency.
My big learning this month was a piece of wisdom from my favorite teacher at Moksana Yoga. Crista teaches one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken. She's sunny in a way I didn't expect from a teacher so challenging. "Bubbly" and "cheerful" don't do her justice. She radiates delight and kicks ass at the same time.
Sometimes she will have us in an inversion and everyone is very serious. We are all clenched up and trying trying trying. Then (as if it’s vital to the structural integrity of the pose) she’ll instruct everyone to “turn up the corners of your lips.” And she’s right. It is vital. The smile changes everything.
When I get caught in a very serious moment of trying to do something right or feeling bad about not doing something perfectly – the smile reminds me what I’m there for. It lets the joy back in. You remember yoga is funny. Yoga isn’t headstands, it’s relating to the experience of moving in your body.
Smiling is working for my meditation too.
When I get stuck in thought (and then guilty about that thought) the words “smile at it” come to mind and pull me back. I remember this isn’t serious. This isn’t anything at all. Why not relate positively to the experience of nothing?
I’m not here for guilt, ego, perfection or progress.
I’m showing up for joy, calm and good, simple peace. Feeling right in my body and brain. What I'm leaving this month with isn't improvement as much as a shift in understanding. Yes, I can feel myself going deeper and longer. But progress isn't what's happening, rather, it's developing a habit of reacting joyfully to the chaos and imperfection of the practice.
On Sunday Jon and I will fly to Berlin. We will travel through Germany for two weeks before settling in Prague and Beginning our TEFL program.