Simple Tips: Finding Joy in Daily Practice

 Min Tanaka, by Fujiko Nakaya

Min Tanaka, by Fujiko Nakaya

My hope is to inspire people to find a way to daily enjoy engaging with their unique inner process.  I’m talking about sitting down and feeling our bodies and being present.  Or maybe, for some, it could be standing still.  Or even with very simple movement. But to find a way to make it their own, so that it is not some vague foreign practice they can’t quite identify with, or something they think they are doing wrong, or something they think they are supposed to do but don’t actually enjoy.

Two things I see as barriers to this are that people think it is impossible and therefore don’t try, or that they relinquish their own process to some outside authority.  With that, they never find their own joyful creative practice, but feel paralyzed by formal techniques. In truth, all of these technique and practices show us that we have to discover and engage with our own way, even in the midst of extremely formal practice.

There is no formula for internal work, but it must be continually creatively investigated.  I hope everyone finds a way to fall in love with their own unique process, until it has real momentum, and begins to feed their entire life.  I hope they begin to shine for no reason, finding freedom through this exploration, and deeply transform.  My intention when working with my clients has always been, and continually is, about helping people in this process.

Taking time every day creates a type of internal momentum. This momentum allows the body to become naturally full and taut.  And with this full and taut physical expression, as we sit down or stand and be still, immediately we engage in a deeper way.  Full and taut, our bodies fill up with energy, and we move as a unit.  When lifting our arm, our whole body is in harmonic support of this, rather than our bodies being a group of unrelated antagonistic forces.

We think it has to look a certain way.  We think we are doing it wrong.  We sit there and our thoughts are going or maybe we are sleeping or we keep jumping up to do things.  Yet, if we give ourselves a chance to discover our unique entryway into the present moment, then we will begin to see that it is up to us. We can find a different way of being, a different type of joy.  Brightness comes from our total being beginning to shine forth.  Most of the time, in our daily lives, we can’t feel where we are holding ourselves back.  We can’t feel where our stuck places are. We’re like walking balloon animals.  All wound up and twisted. And so, in simply sitting still, we remove a lot of the stimulation and distraction which are a part of our lives.  And in that, we have our own process unfolding in front of us, within us. When we begin to see that unfolding, if we can really look, it is completely fascinating and transformative.

Looking within can also be frightening at times, but if we can be honest and curious and courageous enough to engage with our unique inner process, we will find that, often in the most counter-intuitive way, we will begin to shine from places we could never predict.  That fear is usually a stuck place in the body, revealing itself so it can be released, and a portal to more vitality and freedom.

Being inspired about the whole process is very important.  Please be deeply curious!  In order to consistently look at this unfolding within ourselves, we have to really give our attention to it.  It has to be more interesting than the story we are thinking about in our heads.  And with experience, we see the gifts that come from giving it attention. So inspiration is like a fire burning inside of us which fuels our search. Without it, we’ll just keep letting the stream of thoughts carry us away.

We must profoundly relax.  For many of us, this is the most difficult.  We’ve spent our lives figuring out how to brace and protect ourselves from the world.  But in order to go deeply into our own process, we must relax.  Let go.  It may feel like we are falling into a bottomless pit at first.  And yet, in order to open ourselves up to our inherent brightness, we must deeply relax. In this true relaxation, we must not just go to sleep, but keep that fire of curiosity and inspiration going.  So, it is both at the same time.

Being honest is the key which unlocks this whole process.  Painstakingly honest. Without being honest, we cannot engage with our inner process.  Instead, we will be there knocking against the door of our inner selves, avoiding what we are feeling.  We’ll be sitting there faking it.  Rather, to have the courage to face what we are feeling, and with great faith, allow this great life energy to transform us.  And then, through our deep exploration, we will have something to offer society.

There are some great teachers out there.  It is not for everyone, but If you are interested in formal practice, I wholeheartedly recommend it.  Having a teacher can be extremely helpful.  Write me if you like, and I’ll do my best to recommend someone near you.

Good luck!  You can do it!  Thanks for reading!  Comments and Questions welcome!