Friday, March 22, 2013

May I Be Happy

Took the day off to spend it with Cyndi Lee at the Yoga Conference. I've gotten much out of previous sessions, like Yoga Body, Buddha Mind, Secrets of the Vinyasa Revealed, and shared insights like It All Begins with An Exhale.

May I Be Happy was the title of the 5 hour session, and I was there to explore a type of mindfulness meditation called maitri self-practice.
The practice of maitri is simple. You repeat these four lines:
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be safe.
May you live with ease.
Each time you recite the sequemce of lines, you visualize a different category of sentient being.
Those you love.
Those you don't love.
Those you have never met.
These three categories cover the entire spectrum of how we relate to other beings:  attachment, aversion, and ignorance. Practicing maitri helps to soften the boundaries of these categories. It opens our hearts and reminds us of our commonality with everyone. When we really see, in our mind's eye, a person we think we don't like, and instead of solidifying our reasons for hatred we honestly wish them happiness, good health, safety, and an easeful life, we start to forget what we thought we hated and why we felt that way in the first place.
~ Cyndi Lee
I thought we'd be working through through the maitri meditation and its categories of sentient beings, but instead it was maitri for our own selves. To wish and welcome these blessings on your own soul and to turn lovingkindness inward.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be safe.
May I live with ease.
I continue my daily morning meditation and yoga practice, and I admit my monkey mind seems more monkey than ever. So I was looking for insight into how to still the constant chatter. I think the most profound and simple technique of the day was to "recognize the gap."

We spent a little time talking about the Yoga Sutras. The first word is atha, which means now.  Now is yoga, yoga is now.

The second sutra, Yogash chitta vritta nirodaha has been translated many different ways and interpreted differently by thousands. Cyndi translated it this way: chitta (mind/heart) vritta (twist/turn) nirodaha (gap)... to rest in the present moment. When she was explaining this she talked about how between the mind-babble, there is a gap, and you need to train yourself to focus on that pause. It made so much sense to me, and it seemed so simple I wondered how I hadn't thought of this before.

I crossed paths with my friend Ana there, and we talked afterward about the one thing that really stood out for us. Mine was "to recognize the gap" when meditating. Ana mentioned for her, it was the idea to apply the mantras interspersed throughout the day. And I thought, yes, this is something I will definitely try to "take off the mat" as well.


Cheryl Tan said...

Hi Diane! We didn't really meet in Cyndi's class but this is a great post! I felt the same way when she spoke about recognizing the gap and it made me feel a lot better about my meditation practice, and how to improve on it. Great blog and may we all be happy!


Diane said...

Thanks Cheryl, maybe we will run into each other again on our travels. Next time we meet let's try to say 'hello'!