Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25th, 2011 - Day 16 of 60

"When I was a young kid growing up we were so poor I couldn't even afford to pay attention."

Just finished up my yoga for the day.  It is still hard, but I am pretty much sailing through it.  That means I am going to have to give myself a couple more weeks and then start upping the intensity.  Most yoga classes will go for about ninety minutes to allow easing into things, taking care of business and then easing out again.  For those who have never done yoga, it appears to be nothing more than people twisting themselves into a pretzel and out again.  While that is certainly a part of it, the various postures (or "asanas") used can also be exhausting.  Yoga is many things to many people and I am not here to be an evangelist for the practice.  We all need to do what works for us.  But, since I need illustrations to make my points, I have to write what I know.  The word "yoga" (योग) is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means "yoke", as in what you'd place on an ox.  The broader meaning relates to the harnessing of the mind and body in a union.  It also means to bring the mind into some form of discipline so it does not wander.  Those who understand the use of the farm yoke know that it is a wonderful analogy.  We use a yoke on an pair of oxen or bulls or whatever animals to enable them to pull along a plow and till the soil.  The yoke allows them to work together for a common purpose.  The two work as one.  But, it can also ensure they do not wander as they walk.  Rather, they proceed straight ahead to ensure even rows under the gentle (hopefully gentle) guidance of the farmer.  Our mind, as many might have noticed, can tend to wander.  When it wanders, it likely amuses itself, or frets or daydreams or is somewhere else entirely.  If we can manage to focus our minds more, we will notice more things and begin to see things a bit more clearly.   "What on earth does twisting yourself into a pretzel have to do with focusing your mind?"  Anyone who is over thirty starts to understand fatigue in a meaningful way.  As we become employees, parents, citizens and care-givers we also understand stress in a meaningful way.  When this reality is combined with a world which moves at a mercilessly blistering pace, we start to know what it is like to get run-down.  Combine those facts with poor diet and no exercise and we ever-so-slowly begin to lose control of our bodies and our minds.  We are pulled along by currents not of our own choosing.  We do what is expedient because it takes less effort.  We wonder how we can get through the day with the incessant demands placed upon us.  Before long, we stop paying attention in a meaningful way and just do what needs to be done.  We dust the cabinet without removing the little knick-knacks.  And, when we lose track of our minds and our bodies, our spirit comes along for the ride as well.  One day we turn around and we don't know where we are or how we got here.  Ever do that driving?  You are half-way to work and you don't remember anything in between?  Yoga seeks to remedy that (as well as other many other things using many, many methods).  For my purposes here, we'll just discuss this one narrow aspect of yoga.

In a nutshell, this about getting you to pay attention.  Back in the old days, yoga-types liked to use meditation, breathing exercises and study to gain peace and wisdom. Very often they found they were physically challenged by long-term sitting for their lessons due to poor fitness.  The yoga postures came along at some point and gave the meditators much better physical health. The stronger their bodies, the better they found their meditation and lessons and mind to be.  The postures are accompanied with breathing techniques.  All of these are linked together to ensure concentration and focus.  You watch your breath as a point of focus.  You constantly examine your body.  How do you feel when you do this posture as opposed to this other posture?  Which posture to you like?  Which posture do you dislike?  Can I bend more?  Can I stretch more?  Am I tired?  Am I stronger today than I was last month?  What is my body saying?  Always come back to the breath.

After a while you really understand what it means to pay attention.  This attention is not just limited to your body, but it bleeds into all aspects of your life.  You pay attention mentally.  You pay attention to the world around you.  You pay attention to what you do because you know, from experience with yoga, that when you do something it affects something else.

Finally and mercifully, I come to my point:  We all need to pay attention.  Many of us have ended up in a place with our bodies and we don't know how we got here (much like the morning drive to work).  We went to bed at 18, fit, strong and healthy.  We woke soft, weak and ill.  We look in the mirror and have no idea who that person is staring back at us.  We lost focus when we were in school, raising kids, starting a career and dealing with the ten-thousand things which distract us.  For our purposes in this group, we need to start paying attention to the food we eat and we need to pay attention to how that food affects us.  Do I feel well after eating this?  Am I full now?  Am I satisfied?  Do I feel differently when I combine this food with something else?  Do I really want this food right now or am I just eating because I think I should or because I am bored?  Why am I eating this particular food?  Will this food make me healthier?  What quality is this food?  Where is this food from? 

When you are on the Reboot you are probably paying better attention because you are out of your routine.  Like your morning commute, if you get to ride with someone and find yourself in a passenger's seat, you see the world in a completely different way.  I'll bet if you get someone to drive you to work and you just sit and observe things on the way in both directions, you'll likly see something you've never seen before.  It doesn't matter how long you've driven the route, you'll probably see things differently.  You tend to pay attention when things are new and fresh.  You don't want to do things wrong.  You are just learning.  As time goes on, you start to disengage the mind as it isn't as necessary as it once was.  When you lose the moment, when you disengage, you lose some control.  In meditation, when you notice your mind wandering, all you do it gently and non-critically bring it back.  We've done that with our diet and with our lives in general.  We need to make it new again.  We need to pay attention.

You don't need to do yoga to pay attention.  There are many ways you can cause that to occur.  What is most important is that you are present in each moment of your life.  This isn't just the moments when you are eating, but other moments as well.  For now, we'll worry about your food and your eating.  Watch what you are eating.  Pay attention to how you eat.  Examine how your body feels.  Many overeat because they are not listening to their body tell them they are full.  Sometimes the body doesn't tell you it is full when you know you should be.  These are all things that would be better managed if we slow down and pay attention.

That is all I have to say on that.  Have you been paying attention?

I am 25% through the 60 days.

Weight: 155.4 lbs.

Food: Fruit/Veg Smoothie With Hemp Seed
Got this one when I took mom out.

No comments:

Post a Comment