Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Perspective (The Practice)

A friend asked me recently if I had a meditation practice. I chuckled. Well, yes, I mean, no, not at the moment. I thought for a minute. How could I sum up my history in a few short phrases? How could I impart the depth of my spiritual life and "practice" without TMI? (Too Much Information?)

One day I'll launch into my meditation-guru-ashram-building a retreat center-years, and how I left there hoping to integrate my spiritual experience into "daily life" rather than remain a monk-like recluse, but not today. Not yet. My friend was just beginning to meditate. She wouldn't be able to hear all of that.

I thought about it and told her, at times I've had both a meditation and a yoga practice. I used to meditate alot. But right now my "practice" looks like this:

Running… as a practice.
Blank sheet of paper… as a practice.
Mothering… definitely a practice.

Anything done consciously is a practice. It helps if it is repetitive and raises your awareness. Life is a practice.

On running:
One foot in front of the other. Over and over. Until you no longer feel what your body is doing, it is just doing it. Over and over. One foot in front of the other. Each time pushing through the invisible cloud of resistance that is thought and sweat and muscles and gravity. Or is it the cocktail from last night that is slowing me down? One foot in front of the other. Steady, easy pace.

Putting the sneakers on is the hardest part. That's the commitment part. Once I get there, I just start. One foot in front of the other. Over and over. Breathe in breathe out. In and out. One foot in front of the other. In and out. Insight comes.

This isn't a race. I just need to move.

Thoughts arise and fall away. Visuals focus in and fade out. One foot in front of the other. Breathe in breathe out. Over and over.

Lungs expand. Legs awaken. I don't even look at the ocean, I just know it is there. Always there. Always will be there. Foot in front of the other, bump, bump, bump, bump. My own internal tempo.

Mountains rise up, sun beats down. Sand at my feet. Stay on the path.

Eyes survey:
"Boy, they're slow. They're cruising. They're in shape. They're not."
Inconsequential thoughts drift by like the scenery as I focus straight ahead.

Who am I to judge?

Maybe they've just had a baby
Maybe they've just recovered from an injury
Maybe it's the first time they've run in 11 years
Maybe there's a blister on their foot--or a stitch in their side
Maybe they're working out a scene for a novel
Maybe they're replaying damaging dialogue from their childhood
Maybe they're just trying to recover from a hard night
Maybe they've already lost 25 lbs even though you can't see it
Maybe they've already run 10 miles before you passed them
Maybe they've already done 6 sets of stairs and are cooling off on the 7th
Maybe they're right where they need to be

Are they fast or slow? Just starting or finishing? Hitting their stride? One person's fast is another's slow. Either way they're out there. Slogging.

What is truth?

It depends on the perspective. It's all relative to the snapshot and the position (and temperament) of the viewer. We're all out there doing our thing.


Today I saw a woman running with her cat. No kidding. I had to check and see if it really was a cat on a leash and not one of those little yappy dogs that are everywhere these days. Nope. Cat. On a leash. Running ahead of her cute blonde pony-tail-bobbing, thighs-as-skinny-as-my-arm kinda chick owner in tight leggings and a white tank top, pulling the leash taught as it led the way.

"Honey! I'm taking the cat out for a jog… Be back later!"

Only in LA.

No wonder we get a bad wrap.


Suzy said...

Your phrases are a meditation in themselves,"One foot in front of the other,' "Thoughts arise and fall away," "Always there. Always will be there. Foot in front of the other, bump, bump, bump, bump."
A constant chant. Amazing,just amazing writing.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Great writing, Tanya, and love that comic relief at the end. Take an A!