â€œTwo friends are making breakfast. One of them, while buttering his toast, says, â€œHave you ever noticed that when you drop your toast on the floor it always lands butter-side down?â€ The other replies, â€œI donâ€™t think thatâ€™s true. I think it probably just seems that way because you remember the mess.â€ The first one then says, â€œOkay â€“ watch this,â€ and lets the toast fall. When it lands butter-side up, the second one says, â€œSee, I told you it doesnâ€™t always happen.â€ The first one responds, â€œNo, I know what happened, I just buttered the wrong side.â€
This may sound silly, but is it really any sillier than the more serious thoughts we entertain and often believe wholeheartedly as the truth? While this manâ€™s belief about dropping toast doesnâ€™t cause any harm, many of the thoughts we cling to do â€“ both to ourselves and to others. In fact, what blocks genuine happiness the most is being caught in the thinking mind â€“ lamenting about the past or worrying about the future. Or, as in the manâ€™s belief about the buttered toast, we can see how our beliefs act like radar; what we perceive is determined by what weâ€™re believing and looking for. Living in our heads, the ground of all our judgments, fears, and limiting beliefs, creates a self-centered narrowness and is a prescription for unhappiness.â€
[Beyond Happiness â€“ The Zen Way to True Contentment / Ezra Bayda / Shambhala 2010]
I shared this reading in this week’sÂ Womenâ€™s Wisdom class. Often, in both the yoga and meditation sessions, I invite an awareness of the thoughts we are having â€“ in the present moment. Not to only notice them, but to be aware of whether they are focused more on past events or if they are pulling you into speculating about the future.
This is a continual process and therefore becomes a theme from time-to-time in my teaching.
Whilst on the subject of teaching, the picture aboveÂ showsÂ the semi-inflated pilates balls I used in Tuesdayâ€™s yoga class. I love the support and gentleness that they offer. This week we were concerned with freeing up around the backs of the shoulders and mid-spine, as well as getting playful in finding freedom within the pelvis too.
It has been remarked that my yoga sessions are different. This would ordinarily have spiked a dialogue in my head as to whether different meant good-different or bad-different. Iâ€™m no longer concerned with working that one out. What I am concerned with is offering ways of finding liberation within the body, as after all, thatâ€™s what the practice of yoga (and meditation) is about.
Which leads me on to reminding you of upcoming classes and a workshop that’sÂ planned:
Womenâ€™s Wisdom: Next course begins Tuesday 17 May and you can secure your place here
Meditation & More: We are meeting on Saturday 14 May at 10.00am. We will shortly be starting a new group book and this would be an ideal time to join us.
Being Stillness: A deeply nourishing and supportive morning of yoga and meditation combined â€“ the perfect blend. Full details and booking can be found here
[Main image: Google / www.dailymail.co.uk]