Some autumn mornings start off cold, dark, gray and wet, and mostly stay that way. The state of the outdoors really ought not to matter much to our indoor practices; and yet, our mind is adept at sending us all the old messages to distract us from our path. “Hit the snooze again.” “It’s cold outside the blankets.” “Just foe today, sleep through the hour of meditation.”
I let the mind run through its games and then smiled at it. “Not today. I’m having none of your wiliness,” I said. “You will move on to other things in a flash, but if I listen to you, I will miss out on the best part of my day!” For the practitioner who has experienced even one of them, the morning-hour is rife with possibilities of peace, joy, light, lightness, relaxation, silence, stillness and more. What would the irascible an unruly mind know about any of those rewards?
Forty five minutes after stepping out of the warm cocoon of sleep to sit in the warmth of daily practice, I feel the familiar glow within. As often happens, the heart is lighter, and the still dark morning feels a little brighter. The small decision to ignore the entreaties of the mind often results in rewards that cannot be described in words. I sometimes wonder why the mind keeps doing this same song and dance every so often, despite the fact that I can’t remember the last time it was actually able to convince me to ‘sleep in’ on my morning practice.
When we succeed in creating a new habit or practice which adds a sense of permanence, stability and value to our life, the mind isn’t going to be able to break us away from it. The practice can take any form. The form of the practice May not matter, as long as we remember to practice it. Our daily practices help us remember who we are, where we are and where we are going. The duration of the practice may not matter, as long as the practice creates a measurable, qualitative difference in our life’s path over time.
A mentor once told me that “ten years of your life will go by, just like that, whether or not you are paying attention – so wouldn’t it be better to pay attention?” Yes. The question becomes: what are we going to pay attention to? How are we to take back our attention from our mind, which is always driving awareness outwards, and re-direct it inwards, towards the heart?
I have to admit that I don’t think much about the next ten years, the next year, the next month, and so on. Why? Too-much forecasting can empower the mind and its games, and make us forget that it is our daily practices that build the heart‘s resilience for the paths ahead.
I’ve been up for two hours, and yes, it’s still cold, gray and damp outside. But so what? Time to put on some layers, walking boots, a warm hat, and go visit with the trees, the waters, and the birds. No matter the weather, it’s a practice that has yet to do anything but lighten my heart. Even the mind now knows not to try and sway me from the trail. What else is it to do after watching me walk the heart path for all these years?
P. S. Join us for our weekly gathering with the #SpiritChat community on Twitter on Sunday, October 24 at 9amET / 630pm India. We will talk about the heart, the mind and the path. Namaste ~ @AjmaniK