There are so many things we can do with our time. We family, work, workout, self-care. Sometimes I don’t know where to begin.
I find myself wanting to throw in the towel, isolate, watch Netflix, as I am overwhelmed with what’s on my plate, and the “WHY” of these things on my plate no longer seem important. And the world at large? It can all be too much.
I turn to meditation to clear the cobwebs. Something happens when I shut everything down. There is moderate evidence to support that meditation reduces the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. However, it may not be more effective than active treatment like drugs, exercise, and other behavioral therapies. I have found that even five minutes of quiet can improve my ability to make decisions, to restore gratitude, and find the path back to joy.
The other impact that meditation offers me is a clear direction on what and where to go next. The mind is loud, and the external world is louder, meditation offers me moments to observe the habitual patterns of negative self-talk and with practice wade through to find the clear inner voice. In yogic terms, the Vijnannamaya kosha or the wisdom sheath.
The postural practice of Yoga helps me deal with the first two sheaths. The Annamaya kosha, the mass that is us, consists of the skin, flesh, fat, bone, and excretory organs. The Pranamaya Kosha vitalizes us as its physical manifestation is breath. This is the active treatment I seek, the exercise I do before I go on the inward journey. By moving my body and yielding to breathe, I prepare for the more focused practice of meditation.
We live in extraordinary times with so many resources. Everything is at your fingertips. After answering a few questions, a meditation program catering to your specific needs is designed and delivered to your inbox. You can try Transcendental or Vedic Meditation, which prescribes a particular mantra -only for you- to chant during your 20 minutes of sit. Too short? The Zen Buddhists welcome you for a longer time on the zafu and zabuton.
How about meditating without sitting? Be like Thoreau and walk it out in nature.
Fighting the oppressive and overpowering, the massive and seemingly uncontrollable has been a day at a time practice. For me, it has never been linear. I am grateful to have a mantra, nature when she calls me and lying prone in savasana on the floor of my home.
All of it is a practice and one I can restart at any time.
I come back again and again to the practice of Yoga.
Yoga is in the here and now.
Sutra 1.1 Now, we begin. Atha Yoganusasanam.
When I am overwhelmed, I go back to basics; I go back to the beginning. I find that when I return there, there is freedom. I can see where I lost the path, where I lost the lesson, and where I can reconnect to the wisdom inside.
Without judgment, I find my way back to flow, and the overwhelm is gone.