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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Day 2 of 21: How do you invite inner stillness?

One the one hand, you can use discipline to create habit, rituals, and schedule to make life easier. "A place for everything and everything and everything in it's place," as is attributed to Ben Franklin, I guess meaning that one can keep track of of stuff if you set up a way to keep it organized, and follow through with using that plan. Fight, chaos/entropy per se, right?

So, in theory, we commit to doing an action, like practicing yoga for 21 days, and we even set the actual time aside, with a plan for what we are going to do. We have our little mat, we have our basic moves, we know the right words to say, but then what? How do we find "yoga," that meeting space of  where inner stillness sweeps through and calms the mind, eases the body and soothes the spirit?

The book A Year of Living Your Yoga suggests, as do so many texts, that we invite it in. You cannot force stillness; that would be like trying to contain a boiling pot of water with a paper plate. You have to turn down the heat, gently slide the pot from heat source, and let it cool naturally, even using something to protect your hand from being burned when you move the pot. Overextended metaphor notwithstanding, the point is, inner stillness is something for which you can only make space, with no expectation that it will spontaneously happen. It's a feeling, a mood, an amorphous experience rather than a set place, or thing you can wear like a suit of armor (or pajamas).

Every class we take, teach, or do on our own, has moments at the beginning where we center, and have the opportunity to set an intention. Perhaps the best one, at this juncture, for me, would be to continue to extend that invitation to Inner Stillness. I've tried in earnest to set "good" intentions, like healing (for myself, and others), patience, strength, and being present, but they all end up feeling so esoteric and disconnected from my practice. So maybe the rule here is keep it simple; and what's simpler than stillness?

Make space for it, and it will find it's place. It's a practice. 

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