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Practice with no reaction will bring about stillness in the mind

Abhyasa-vairagyabhyam tan-nirodhah literally means “practice with no reaction will bring about stillness in the mind.”

Our minds are almost always in overdrive. In the past few years, you’ve probably seen the hundreds of articles, talks, and studies on mindfulness and how meditation really has the power to calm the mind and lead us to a more serene and free state of mind.

Well, I’ve got news for you: the western world is super late. Yoga, as all of you know, has been a pathway to sound mind, body, and spirit for centuries.

Practice in and of itself is a form of discipline (tapas).  It’s effort and work.  And with anything that takes as much effort as consistent practice, sometimes the discipline can be or feel binding because of deeply ingrained patterns.  Sometimes, we get angry with ourselves or the practice itself. Sometimes we feel dismayed or apathetic toward it.

These are the emotional reactions that we face because we don’t like to be uncomfortable, but in reality, true comfort lies within the change.

If we can try to understand that, we are able to hold ourselves with kindness rather than rigidity.  It’s the effort to release our own small-mindedness to open up to a greater world.  It’s a commitment to show up for ourselves, to have a meaningful relationship with the Self even with all the whirls and changes!

The beautiful thing though? Amid that whirls and changes, the practice becomes our anchor—our quiet in the chaos. Yoga gives us the reprieve and safe space we need to just BE so that we can work through whatever it is in front of us. It gives our minds stillness and ease.

I think that when we are able to do this, to have a steady, joyful relationship with ourselves without being pushed and pulled by our reactions and emotions, then our practice becomes limitless.  WE become boundless.  To me that is liberating.

How is your practice giving you freedom today?

For Pondering Excerpt from Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh

“The present moment is where we need to operate. When you are truly anchored in the present moment, you can plan for the future in a much better way. Living mindfully in the present does not preclude making plans. It only means that you know there’s no use losing yourself in worries and fear concerning the future. If you are grounded in the present moment, you can bring the future into the present to have a deep look without losing yourself in anxiety and uncertainty. If you are truly present and know how to take care of the present moment as best you can, you are doing your best for the future already.”

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