Bear with me as I cycle back to the woman from the yoga class that I struggle with. This past week, true to form, she comes in late, creates a little disturbance as she sets up, and then gets back up, goes to her bag, and pulls out her cell phone. She starts checking something, and than makes an audible sound as if to signal that this important thing has come in, and even though it is an inconvenience, she must absolutely attend to it. Right now. She then steps just far enough outside of the room, but not so far that her conversation cannot be heard by the rest of us.
My mind is exploding. It is like a feral animal locked in a cage as it hurls itself around this topic. I am lining up all of the ways that I am going to approach the teacher, and maybe even the studio owner. I have got this cold. My argument is irrefutable. Her transgressions egregious and worthy of reproach. Her awareness of others so non-existent as to be justifiably offensive. Her behavior so very un-yogic. And then…
I notice myself. I see how much attention I am giving this and I begin to wonder why. Suddenly, it hits me. My body is struggling today. Muscles are stiff, and things that usually are not a problem, are hurting. As I turn towards all of this bodily sensation, I am moved to emotion by how much we must navigate each and every moment of every single day as part of the human experience. Some things desired in terms of the sensations we feel. Some things not.
That is when it dawns on me that it is much easier to be railing against her than it is to be in my own body. It is much easier to blame another for the experience I am having. It is much easier to distract myself from my own experience than it is to be with what is too uncomfortable to be with.
It is so human to want to get away from the intensities of being in a body. There is so much to be felt; other people, stress, traffic, weather, politics, pollution, body ailments, moods, emotions, mind states, and more. A continuous stream of sensation that never ends. And depending on how we are choosing to live, that stream will be more or less intense. More or less confusing. More or less tuned into as a source of information and guidance
So, what are we to do given, that through our use of the screen technologies, it has never been easier to distract ourselves from ourselves? How are we to be with the truth of our bodies, and what it is to be alive? Maybe you can try what one of my college students came up with. On her screen she has the words “Turn Over.” Every time she picks up her phone, she sees this, turns her phone over, and reads the sticky note she taped to the back. There, she finds the big, bold question “Why are you here?”