Wednesday, June 6, 2012

better at breaks

It is not easy to learn something if you can't check how you are doing in the lessons.  I would like to learn Italian and I would like to be able to draw better.  I can roughly check my language learning by testing my vocabulary and my drawing by showing it to a trusted mate.  But just sitting with myself, with the short-time goal of not having a goal is difficult if I am going to ask for a receipt for time spent and progress achieved.  

You can imagine how it would be more difficult in a school lesson.  At home, trying to show kids how to just take a break from striving, we can sit quietly.  We can appeal to the closeness we share with our family to simply call for a calm few minutes.  But if we take a child to a teacher, we may expect the instructor to be able to tell us about the student's "progress".  Moving toward a goal is not the goal with meditation.  

It is more like meeting the people on your team, those you will be working with.  Just seeing what they look like and hearing what they sound like, you can understand that you are meeting them, getting to know them.  Except in the case of meditation, the whole group lives in your brain, your mind, your feelings and your body. They are all aspects of you.

I really like Eric Barker's pictorial hint of a absurdly simple way to improve all your relationships.  

However, he means simply to show up, try, in the sense of talking to others, about themselves or about yourself.  He does not mean to strive, to agonize, to sweat.

To be better at taking breaks from thinking and striving and pushing and re-trying, I need to relax.  It's no good scrambling to hurry up and relax!  It can seem unAmerican, subversive, disloyal to relax, to simply sit but doing so, repeatedly just sitting (or standing or lying down) can lead to an increased awareness of who and what you are.

For just knowing yourself and being at ease with yourself and your world, nothing beats simply sitting regularly, quietly, and not letting any of the issues of the day or challenges or hopes have the stage for a few private minutes with yourself.

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