Day #9: It was there the whole time!
That golden moment you realise you already had what you were looking for...
Picture this, I get home from a long day of work and my end-of-day yoga class. When I get home, job #2 kicks in as I enter parenting mode. It is time for the bath, dinner, and bed routine with my 14 month old baby girl (first child) with teamwork (more so leadership) from my awesome wife Sarah. My baby girl was happy to see me when I got home (love it), and she enjoyed bath time and dinner. When it came time for bed, however, it was a different story. There were multiple trips over the next 2 hours as Sarah and I trekked in and out of her nursery because she had an unsettling cold and fever. Finally, she drifted off to sleep so Sarah and I could think about doing the same...
I was still a bit wound up to sleep, so I grabbed my iPhone to locate the best mindfulness recording I could give myself for an evening wind-down practice. I looked at Insight Timer.
(Sidenote: awesome app with chiming bell you can set your own timings and meditate in silence. Also has great guided mindfulness practices from all sorts of teachers across the globe.)
I scrolled through guided practices, but none sparked interest. It was like I was mindlessly scrolling like the trap we fall into on Facebook (or is that just me...).
So I opened up Smiling Mind - kick ass app and even still I didn't feel like the structure of a sequence of topics for practice. I felt like something pleasurable and easy and natural...
So, I moved onto a different app that I like. Buddhify - Another useful app for mindfulness practices, but i've done them before many times and tonight I think I wanted something 'good' because of the intense day and evening.
(Sidenote: I know how flawed this desire for a 'good' mindfulness practice is and that mindfulness includes attitudes like 'non-striving', 'non-attachment' and 'acceptance' - but nevertheless sometimes I just feel like getting what I want dammit!)
So, I opened up Relax Melodies - an app with a wide variety of sounds that you can mix and create audio to practice mindfulness to. Tonight I decided that the relaxing sound of rain would invite that ease in to my mindfulness practice following my big day in training and with the evenings events.
As I used the sounds of rain from the app to invite me into a state of ease and relaxation, I noticed another sound was present that was competing for my attention.
What is that distraction?
It's taken me 5 minutes of thinking and searching to land on a practice that I 'expect' will bring me what I crave at the end of my big day.
What is taking me away from the pleasure I so desperately seek?
Funnily enough (or sadly true), it was the sound of rain. Yep, actual rain. I could hear the drops landing on the roof. I could distinguish the sound on the roof from the sound on the balcony. I could hear when gusts of wind changed the pattern of sounds. It was beautiful, actually.
So I took out my headphones to listen to the real rain falling from the sky at that moment. I noticed I was enjoying just listening to the different sounds of rain and not wishing for things to be any different.
Holy crap! I was searching for something to give me ease. But, I didn't need to search for it at all. I didn't need to block out my environment by being in my head trying to craft a 'good' practice. I just needed to allow what was already available to take centre-stage in my awareness.
Then I had a huge - 'HOLY CRAP' - as a massive wave of insight swallowed me up. It wasn't the rain sounds that created the pleasurable experience I enjoyed. It was 'how' I was opening my awareness and investing my attention on the rain in the present moment with an attitude of curious exploration. This experience - this 'practice' - gave me access to a sense of being that was free from desire and avoidance. It was a freedom that created the opportunity to simply be at ease and allow relaxation to emerge. Ahhhh - here it is...