Recess vs Release with Justin Ritchie
Almost every time I get on my cushion to meditate or recite my mantra its because I want something. I want to get focused. I want to get
healthy. I want to get relaxed. I want to be more open to love.
Every time I get off my cushion it’s not something I’ve gained, it’s something I’ve lost. These practices help shed the layers of intellectual, emotional, and energetic grime and soot we build up during the day. I leave my meditation seat feeling clean and refreshed… more myself. Lately my seated practices have felt more like an ethereal shower.
Our beings are designed to adapt. That’s how we’ve survived throughout history. By adapting to the world around us. We’re evolutionarily built for it. Our internal state of being is naturally affected by our external environment. A month ago it hit 70 degrees and NYC shed its clothes. People were laying out in bathing suits enjoying the heat wave. When that same 70 degrees hits in mid August and watch the hoodies and jeans come out and count how many times you hear the word “freezing.”
As we sway in the undulations of life it’s all too easy to get caught up. Things are going great, so I’m happy! Things aren’t going well, so I’m not happy! Our emotional are always valid. However, with practice, we can choose how hard we cling to them, if at all.
The trouble with these practices is that they are hardest when we first start out. When we are new, we still haven’t developed the tools to cut through the intellectual mayhem that is internal residue of our lives. Described by a friend: “It’s like f*cking recess. The moment I try to focus on my breath in meditation, it’s like the bell rings for recess and my thoughts all run screaming like sugared-up 7 year olds on a playground.” Then the timer goes off. Awesome.
Please, my dear friends, stick with it. Consistency is key. Meditation and mantra are not quick fixes. They are a process of developing new mental patterns. Eventually, we find breaks in the chatter and learn to listen to the breath underneath. Even this small breakthrough may take weeks or months. With practice, we find the breaks in the chatter more easily and what’s waiting underneath isn’t just the breath, it’s the self. The self that’s not caught up in the waves of life. The self that lies beneath the residue of our external experiences. The true self.
It’s with this self that inspiration lies. It’s this self that is capable of true feeling and better loving. It’s this self that can feel happiness. Not temporary satisfaction but real, lasting happiness. Be motivated by desire. We all are. Get on your mat, get on your cushion, pick up your mala thinking “I want X.” But, practice with dedication and consistency. I’ll bet you’ll find X. I’ll bet it was waiting for you all along, underneath the layers of your day… your week… your childhood… your life. I’ll bet with practice you can shed the grime and soot of your external world. Then, it won’t be something you grab for, but something you let go of, that leads to fulfillment.
Love and Namaste,