We all have our positive and negative habit energies, cultivated over the course of our lives, a result of conditions and circumstances over time.
If we are aware of our negative habit energies or behaviours, then we might choose to do something about them, especially if we start to become aware of the detrimental impact on ourselves and those we interact with. The start of the process is befriending the self and becoming aware of how we act in the world, getting to know who we are from the inside out, stepping back and viewing this world of I, Me and Mine.
One way to begin is by bringing attention to the breath, even for a moment, this will set the stage for facing that moment, and the next one with greater clarity. It creates a small window to tune into the body and the mind, sensing what’s going on.
It takes practice to catch our reactions as they are emerging. Through ongoing meditation and mindfulness practice we start to lessen the hold that repetitive thought patterns can have on the mind and the body. Over time, through self observation, reflection, and self understanding, we can affect change, bit by bit, until the grip of the negative habit energy starts to loosen itself. Using the breath as an anchor in difficult moments we can create space so that instead of amplifying our reaction we can pause and choose how to respond.
The negative habit energy will not disappear completely, but overtime will reduce in volume.
As Aristotle said, we are what we repeatedly do, so let’s make the time and the effort to become the better version of ourselves.
Have you ever noticed how you walk?
Some of us move from our head, our chest, our shoulders, the rest of the body just catching up. We are in a rush to get somewhere even when there is no need. We can stand in a queue and there is nothing to do but wait and yet we are tight in the mind and body, creating an invisible barrier of separateness with the environment. It is seen in the eyes and around the mouth. We may have tension in the belly, the lower back, the neck and shoulders. A restlessness.
Imagine moving with ease and grace, soft in the eyes, soft around the mouth, taking your time to be and do, a simple attentiveness to the present. This is not passive being, it is open awareness of our moment to moment experience whether we like what’s happening or not. If there is unease, we pause, we take a breath, we feel the breath down in the lower belly and we respond from a place of balance.
We can cultivate lightness of being through a gradual process of befriending the mind and the body. It requires a meta awareness and a willingness to drop into the body and use the breath as an anchor point to feel and experience being centred. The more we realise our head is not the centre, the more we can trust the intelligence of the body and the breath to lead the way.
The conditioned modality we live in is in our heads. We live in our heads almost all of the time apart from when pain or tension in the body calls us to respond. When we do respond the response is often a head based reaction, a verbal reaction. We often treat our body as if it were separate from the head.
Every moment thoughts are vying for our attention. It is as if our head is hovering 30 cm in front of us as we proceed through the day: planning, thinking, creating narratives, projecting forward. The head leads, the body follows.
We live in a back and forth relationship with past based thinking and future based thinking, only occasionally do we feel and see the present as a tiny slit of light in a dark room. That light is integration, the head is back on the neck, integrated with the body and interconnected with our surroundings. We are in felt relationship with the self and the world around us.
Using the breath as an anchor, feeling the breath deep in the lowest part of the belly, we can cultivate befriending the self and bring the head back to the body. As we practice yoga and mindfulness our mind, heart, and belly come into balance and harmony. There is a feeling of space and freedom within and in relationship to our environment and our interactions.
Life would be dull if things stayed just the way we wanted them to be. Every minute, every second there is constant change and movement taking place, in everything. In this moment,- sitting or standing, wherever you are, change is happening in your body, right down to the most subtle level.
I feel good right now, I want to stay feeling good. It’s bright and sunny, it may rain later, it may hail or even snow. I might cry. Yet I want to stay feeling good.
We want to cling to the joy, show aversion to the pain, make it go away somehow. It is easier perhaps to stay present with what is joyful, yet often, ironically, we can be more present with suffering because it feels more raw. To be present in whatever mood state or situation we must practice being in touch with our mind state and body state and we can do this through the breath. Conscious breathing is our anchor to finding balance and composure in the midst of change.
Circumstances change, people change, everything changes, even though we can delude ourselves into thinking otherwise. Becoming aware of this helps to create a more balanced and contented perspective. All of us will face sickness and death, all the big topics we don’t like to think about when it comes to impermanence, especially our own. Yet confront them, – see that change is all pervasive, understand it and embrace it. Make the most of your life and your potential for being. There is nothing passive about accepting impermanence!