As I was on my way to teach my first class of the morning, I was reminded how utterly stressed out I used to be! For anyone who knows me now it might seem like i’m describing someone else entirely! But yes I was one of THE most stressed people I’ve ever met!! As often happens I got stuck in a traffic jam. A flicker of annoyance registered in my mind immediately..years ago this would have escalated into a ruined day, feeling life was a battle, a struggle! I would have been tense and worn out by this story! And that’s what it is…a story that we create and join in with, in our minds. When I was learning tai chi in France, my teacher at the time was a very engaging, elderly chinese gentleman who was in his eighties!! He told me of how monkeys were caught and trained to run up and fetch fruit high up in the trees. Monkeys are almost impossible to approach so they came up with this idea. A coconut is hollowed out. A hole is made, just big enough for the monkey to put it’s paw in. A piece of string is attached to the coconut. It is then left on the ground with a banana inside. The monkey of course thinks Christmas has come early and puts his paw in to make off with its prize! However, the hole is only just big enough for the monkeys paw..when it clasps hold of the banana it can no longer get it out of the hole as its too big. Poor monkey is then reeled in by the string! You would have thought that the poor old monkey would let go! But no..he just cannot let go of the banana..no matter what happens! And this is exactly what we do day in, day out in our own minds (bananas not included!). An idea, reaction, emotion pops in and we engage with it..and even if it is harming us..we continue to hang on to it…creating a whole story that we ride off into the sunset with!! lol! The result of living through years of this kind of reactivity and inner resistance, is chronic tension, stiffness, fatigue, depression, migraines, heart attacks….the list could go on and on. Coming back to the traffic jam…….as soon as I felt that flicker of reactivity, I used it to become conscious again. As reactivity happens when we are living unconsciously. I realised that the traffic jam was not causing my pain..but my attachment to my inner story was creating the discomfort! I let go in that instant and the reactivity, the emotional attachment and discomfort, the tension in my body disappeared! And what is more amazing…in it’s place was a real sense of Joy..allowing the natural state of happiness that is there all the time…to come through. Alot of us have forgotten how to let go..how to live joyfully..we get blocked physically, emotionally, energetically…..I have learned the hard way how this can affect the body and mind..although the process of letting go and living more consciously, authentically can appear challenging at first…the rewards will speak for themselves!
Ruth Stilitz says
Wise counsel. I will recall it when next I am in a traffic jam.
That is so true. When I remember to do this everything seems so much easier. In the Ice Age movies there is a character that is clinging on to an acorn I think. Its very funny but as I watch I can’t help thinking if he stopped having to hold on to it, his whole life would improve.. But then he has made his whole life the acorn. ( or whatever it is!)