Is it Really so Simple?

Several months ago I was getting ready to leave on a trip to California for an annual meditation retreat. Before leaving I was sharing with someone that people don’t talk on the planes like they used to. There really isn’t even the conciliatory small talk; we put on our headphones, power up our devices or maybe delve into work or if we’re lucky a good book. I admit that I am one of those people. 

I arrived at the wrong gate. Once I realized it, I rushed over to the correct gate to find a group of people standing in line ready to board. In a split second I turned to someone to ask a question to get my bearings. It just so happened that the person next to me was a Hindu monk dressed in his bright orange robe.

He gave me the answer to get my bearings and I situated myself in the correct boarding position. 

Many minutes later as I was finding my seat, I saw the Hindu monk sitting quietly with his hands folded in his lap. I chose to sit there, next to him. Instinctually, I was drawn to his peace, wisdom and quiet nature.

After a few minutes I began to ask him questions about his stay in Chicago. Within moments we realized we knew some of the same people in the yoga community in Chicago . . . our talk continued for hours. 

I asked him questions about life . . . a recent challenge that I was still healing from . . . the deep suffering my friend was experiencing and what he hears from people when he travels the world giving spiritual teachings.

He shared that most people want to understand the mind . . . that guilt, depression, regret, judgment and criticism are weapons of the mind to use against us. The mind pushes down our positivity and good qualities of love, joy and happiness.

He shared that people want to understand the why. When we accept that there is something bigger than us, it is easier to trust that life is often still unfolding and that the universe reveals the answer at its own time; most of the time things aren’t clear in the moment.

He explained that we have contracts with people in our lives to help learn the lessons that we need to in this lifetime.

He also shared that all we need to do in life is practice gratitude, forgiveness, acceptance and humility. 

I asked him . . . so how do we do this? He replied, “It is really so simple . . . rest. 

When we are rested, we are more connected to our deeper nature; our protective and defensive systems relax.

He continued to share that in his offerings all around the world he teaches yoga nidra, a meditative sleep practice that activates deep states of conscious relaxation. It’s one of my favorite practices I told him.

I was reminded of this trip again after several conversations last week I had with people who shared the ways in which they are tired . . . tired of the pressures of work, tired of the ways that grief continues to percolate in their mind, body, and heart and tired of witnessing the pain when a loved one suffers.

None of these people were complaining about their circumstances, but rather sincerely sharing that they were doing their best in holding aspects of life that were hard AND they were tired.

It reminded me again to remember that in some ways we are all tired of something we are holding . . . that in some place inside ourselves it takes a toll, even despite our best efforts.

Rest doesn’t mean we are weak either; it means that we simply need a pause long enough for nourishment to come back home to ourselves.

It wasn’t an accident where I sat that day on the airplane. Life was conspiring in my favor.

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