Updated: Jan 24, 2022
As I sit here, waiting for the heat to descend upon Portland, I am reminded of other heated times of late. Particularly heated discussions with my family. They are expected conversations, about support, independence, and the right balance between the two. Just now I feel fine, but at the time, it was heated.
When we're in those heated moments of discomfort, it can sometimes be hard to remember that relative stillness is coming. Discomforts in life ebb and flow. Yoga describes this as the "fluctuations of the mind-stuff." Of course, at the time, we rarely think "oh, yes, that's just my mind-stuff fluctuating! I'm sure that stillness is right around the corner." Yet, it does come. Even in the most difficult situations, the relative difficulty ebbs and flows. Things do change.
The opportunity, is to recognize the stillness when it comes. Sometimes times of peace, quiet and relative comfort can get gobbled up by other mind-stuff. Sometimes we "borrow trouble," when we wonder what we're missing out on, when we focus on what we don't have, or what is not yet right in the world.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali refers to santosha or contentment as one of the ways to control the fluctuations of the mind-stuff. But it's not a matter of if you just happen to be content. We have to make contentment a priority, to be able to connect to that stillness inside that is there, but that we may not connect to, if we keep letting ourselves be led around by every random thought that passes through.
I hope that you'll join me over the next few days, whether you're sweating it out in Portland, or dealing with the big and small fires of life, in remembering that we each have a still, sweet spot inside. And that we can find our way back to it, with patience and persistence. And that when we do this we and the world are better for it.
We talk about our topic of the month at the start of each class!