I recently read a statement describing yoga postures as “containers for experience.” Immediately my mind went to the possibility of seeing our bodies themselves as containers for all of human experience. What a radical way of viewing ourselves! Gone would be the need to live up to a cultural standard of what and who the body is for. Gone would be criticism and judgment around its look or shape. Gone also would be the need to reduce ourselves down to a container, forgetting that it is what is inside the container that is most important and precious. The truth is, whether we view our bodies with tenderness or scorn, they allow us to be here and to experience, everything. Without them we would not know joy, beauty, suffering, loss, pain, love, accomplishment, or failure. We would not know the wind, movement, or loving touch. What if we could see our lives as containers for an all-inclusive package of experiences while being less picky about the particular experience, and more focused on experiencing what it had to offer?
Practice being a container for experience by saying “yes” when feelings and sensations arise. Allow yourself to feel whatever is there for no other reason than because it is there. Even if you are afraid, don’t want it or don’t know what to do with it, just say yes to its presence, to the fact and to the truth, that it is there. We begin strengthening our container by acknowledging what is real about our experience in any given moment. When we deny pieces and parts, we deny the full range of what it means and what it takes to be human. Seeing ourselves to be containers of all experience is to be fully aligned with the reality of the present moment. And when we can do that, tension subsides and wholeness prevails.