I am having a difficult day today – trouble with sleep in the last couple of weeks has left me feeling a bit down – and I missed my class at the gym today because there was a disruption outside our work building and I didn’t feel like wading through it. I’m not complaining about that, but it has kept me at my desk, and so without an opportunity to boost myself I have sunk deeper into my exhaustion instead.
When I remember, it’s times like this that allow me to put my meditation practice into action (as incongruous as that sounds), because if I am truly mindful about my state I tune into the fact that mostly, it’s not the physical tiredness that brings me down, but my feelings about the tiredness. That is, when I am tired, I am not only experiencing reduced energy, but I am also feeling frustration and self-reproach (as though I have chosen fitful sleeps in the last little while), and I start to tell myself negative things about my lack of capacity when I am tired, deriding each effort as not enough. In essence, I divorce what I consider to be *myself* from current state – as though the only me who *can* exist is one with lots of rest, or perpetually happy and productive. As though any other manifestation of myself – whether tired, or ill, or irritable – is not who I am, is wrong – and so I resist those states which only brings about more mental difficulty, frustration, irritation, and exhaustion. You get the picture.
But although this is not a new insight for me, it has taken me the whole day to get back around to realizing this – it is so easy to forget when I am caught up in my own self-referential experience. But remembering! That allows me to step back and empty my mind for a moment, sit at this computer and let the experience click-clack onto the screen. Becoming aware of the nagging voice of frustration, I can dial it down a little, back out of it entirely – so that I am just typing this note to you, telling about how I am the same as you and there is the capacity in all of us to be a little nicer to ourselves. And if we wish to notice the space between the in-breath and the out-breath, we will find that to be a place in which that inner voice is actually quiet, and in which we can take a break from being so into ourselves (and our problems).
And then maybe we return to the flow of things, click clack, without having the bad thought-feelings return.