Be More, Do Less
Whatever the "doing" is that we do, what if we could "be" first? Whether the doing is a mental doing like problem solving, an emotional doing like resolving a conflict, a physical doing like so many of our errands in life and even our spiritual doings like meditation, yoga etc.--can we make room to attune to our being first? How can we cultivate a state of being that can precede the many doings and activities we perform? This can enhance our presence in the activity we are doing along with increased depth and efficiency within our "doings". For those of you familiar with my core message I am expanding or refining my REST formula (recognize, embody, support and transform) with this principle of be more, do less. Here's a personal example of what I mean: While I was leading a Shake Your Soul teacher training in Devon Pennsylvania this past weekend I noted a low level hum of insecurity and disconnection inside myself along with a pressure to "push through the material to be taught". A fundamental state of unrest was present along with pressure to just press on or push through. I could point to a number of external factors that touched this place inside me, yet the key isn't in the externals but in tuning into the internal responses. So, I could feel my need to "do", to teach, to finish teaching the training. Even before going to teach on one morning I felt in my impulse to "do yoga" how I wanted to move away or quickly change this inner state of disconnection and insecurity. I wanted to do something about this state of unrest in my experience verses "be with it". This exemplifies a fundamental rejection of experience even as I was reaching for my yoga practice or meditation practice.
As I recognized this feeling of unrest while journaling before going to teach, I identified feelings and energy states of unrest, insecurity and disconnection.
Here's a journaling/reflection "practice" that helps me be identify my feeling states. I hope it can help you as well. Title your journal page: "What's on my mind and what's in my body..." I find when prefacing one's journaling with this mantra, we can arrive at what is most central to acknowledge. We can start with "what's on top"--in our minds and then "drop down" into our body experience. We start by recognizing and naming all those things that are on our mind and are grabbing or pulling at our attention. When unacknowledged and unnamed they often create a blur or scattering of our mental focus along with a pressure to just "get on with our lives and check off all those things we feel compelled or responsible to do". Now, as you write down all those things on your mind, begin to feel "what's in your body"--every mind state has a parallel body state. There are also deep currents of feeling states that are seemingly unrelated to our thoughts as well, so be open to whatever you feel in your body. Meet your emotional body that lives in your viscera! Write down in your journal, what you feel in your body as you acknowledge what's on your mind.
To come back to my story briefly: As I was being with my mind-body experience of insecurity, disconnection and unrest, I gave up trying to change the discomfort and instead brought acceptance towards it. I temporarily suspended my urge to "yoga my way through it or meditate beyond it"--the urge to transcend. Instead, it becomes about descending into the body experience of feeling just as we feel, and instead of being "stuck in the feeling" we cultivate acceptance towards the feeling, support towards the feeling. Cultivating acceptance or support for how we feel is not giving a "lip service" level of acceptance to our feelings--a quick "I accept you, insecurity", but it is an intent to dwell in feelings of acceptance, support and love for whatever it is we feel. And to be able to sustain or continue to come back to the feeling of holding our unrest, anxiety pain etc in the cradle of acceptance. I know it sure sounds like a lot of work--to recognize what we are feeling underneath the busy-ness of our minds, make room for our feelings, bring acceptance to them and continue to come back to feelings of acceptance surrounding or embracing our difficult or challenging feelings. Yes, this is a lot of work in deepening our consciousness--the work of attuning and nurturing verses the disciplines of transcending that many of us use to move beyond our discomforts. Don't get me wrong, I employ many of these transcendental/transformational practices. Yet, I'm suggesting an option: which is about landing before we take off compulsively and routinely into an action so that our actions are rooted in one's acceptance of one's experience first. So back to my story one more time: once I recognized and brought acceptance and support to my unrest, insecurity and feelings of disconnection I found myself relaxing, feeling more secure or grounded with my experience and oddly more connected. Consciousness infused with acceptance is healing and transformative! In this cultivation of presence and heart one has to surrender the agenda that the discomfort goes away. In fact the agenda is just the opposite, "I'm here with you (insecurity or whatever)--I'm not leaving or going away--in fact I bring my acceptance and love for you". That's an act of couer--of heart--the courage of a spiritual warrior that lives within all of us! Try taking off the armor of the "doer" and discover the spiritual warrior of the "be-er".
May we all discover our beings as being enough!