Non Sequiturs

August 19, 2009 · 1 comment

So I walked in to Barnes & Noble tonight and asked the girl at the help desk if she could point me in the direction of the self-help section.  Her reply:  “Wouldn’t that be defeating the purpose?”

Joke.

I know full well where the self-help section of the B&N is – it’s like the section on the map marked “Wilderness”.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing there.  Except maybe tygers and dragons.

My favorite character from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is Ragnar Danneskjöld.

I didn’t have meaningless sex last night.  But I did go to yoga.  Did it help?  Yes.  Quite a bit, in fact.

There were two chicks in the class that were about my age – one was kind of cute.  It a bit distracting, but probably just the challenge I needed.  I still have knots in my shoulders, but damn did it feel good to stretch every effin part of my body.

In case you’re not a yogi/yogini, one practices with one’s eyes closed.  That was a bonus for me, what with the chicks in the class.  I’m usually none too good at keeping my eyes to myself.  So I was glad that I had them closed.

Yoga practice is meditative – one is (at least in my mind) supposed to be in a state of meditation for the entire class.  I try to be, at least.  In meditation, I try to detach myself from my thoughts – to be aware of the facts that I am not my body, nor am I my mind.

I try to let my mind focus on my the postures (my body) while I’m practicing yoga.  I try to let my thoughts pass through my mind, without getting lost in them or attempting to control them.  As a matter of fact, I try to do this all the time – whether I’m “meditating” or not.

Supposedly, that’s one of the stages of yoga and/or zen practice – to be basically in a state of constant meditation.

I’m out of practice at formal meditation, so I had a little trouble watching the river of my thoughts rush by without getting caught up in them.   They started to sweep me away a few times.

All in all, though, I consider last night’s endeavour a success.  For me, personal change has to take place slowly, in small increments.  As much as I would hope that an hour and a half of yoga practice would relieve all the tension in my body and set my mind at peace, I can’t expect these things to happen immediately.  But last night’s exercise was a step toward those goals.  I just need to continue.

Although the knots are still there in my shoulders, they’re not nearly as tight as they were yesterday.  And, by the same token, even though my mind still runs away with me, I did hit upon a realization last night:

At the end of class, before the breathing exercises, we do yoga nidra – deep relaxation.  We lie on our backs, tense up each muscle group and let them relax, and then direct our attention to relaxing our bodies completely, from our feet up.  We spend 5-10 minutes in complete silence and relaxation – and meditation.   Normally, I fall into a light sleep/stupor at this point (as do many in the beginner class – some even snore).

Tonight, however, I did not.  As I was meditating, trying to “tie the puppy to the post” (and realizing that I didn’t have a post), my thoughts started to pull me into themselves.  Instead of following a pleasant one down into slumber, I just let them pass by and didn’t fall asleep, as is my wont.

I think that’s what I’m supposed to do.  At least, it felt more right/proper than simply falling asleep.

Overall, the class was very good for me.  But again, it was but one small step toward peace of mind and body.  I need to continue walking that path if I want to get away from my recent state of tension.

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BRIAN August 19, 2009 at 10:10

I Yogied once. At 6’5″ I’m way to big for that kind of body movement. The meditation sounds like it could help me but I don’t have the patience to be still and my mind is always working, that is I don’t think I could stop the river from flowing. I suppose it takes practice though and as they say “you gotta be in it to win it.”

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