Sometimes we as facilitators, teachers, and life-long students ask ourselves, “What is the point of practice?” It’s an interesting question no matter how long you have been practicing mindful movement and meditation. Returning to presence is an on-going and evolving path. One reason is to use our practice in the moment to awaken in our everyday lives. Part of deepening one’s experience means being reminded, again and again, to wake up and pause, especially in moments of discomfort or pain. When we create this meaningful pause rather than react to the situation, we create room to make a choice in how we deal with ourselves, with other people, and with life situations.
When we “wake up”, our brain gravitates towards the things we have familiarized it with. With practice, one such familiar thing becomes the practice of loving-kindness. This practice — that is, remembering that someone else, somewhere, is feeling the same pain as I am experiencing, and then wishing us both relief, or ease, or joy — is an on-the-spot action that happens in the now. The flip side is when we experience pleasure (including the seemingly small, everyday kind, like being able to wash your hands in warm water), we remember to share this experience with someone by wishing that they, too, might have this pleasure. It is a gesture of support and of sharing the good stuff. With time, doing this repeatedly markedly shifts our relationships, our attitudes, and our actions towards greater compassion.
So, let us share the good stuff in this new year by learning to practice loving-kindness towards ourselves and others on a regular basis. One possible way to learn these skills is to join us for our annual Embodying Resilience retreat, happening January 4 – 6, 2019. We hope to see you there!