I write this blog sitting in the park in Mestre, Italy. I am staying with my friend Gaia, as we are just about to begin teaching the Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC) teaching skills retreat in Venice for 5 days, starting Wednesday. She is at home with her mum putting up her enormous Christmas tree and hanging no less than 900 fairy lights around it. I am usually a bit of a Grinch when it comes to Christmas, but in the face of Gaia’s unbridled enthusiasm, resistance is useless! So I am going with the flow and am determined to enjoy the sparkly lights and Christmas songs that are around me.
Rob, Fay and I started teaching Mindfulness in Venice about 4 years ago. Since then, I have had the good fortune to teach many courses here with Elena and Gaia. Now Elena and Gaia’s company Inner Sight (click here) have a franchise from the MA to teach the MA’s courses in Italy – thankfully they still ask me to come and help!
I have been travelling a lot recently and am feeling a bit tired and have been experiencing some resistance to getting up well before dawn breaks to practice. As I pressed the snooze button on my phone for the fifth time this morning, I saw clearly how the resistance to getting up was all about me – my not wanting to do what I knew was for the best. Then I recognised that my intention to practice is not solely about me – it is about creating the causes and conditions that enable me to help others, as well as myself. This thought got me out of bed and on to my cushion. In the back of my mind I also knew that my day would be better once I had done my practice.
But as my practice unfolded in a distracted and mediocre way – and the me that wanted to please myself wanted to stop and do something more fun – I had to remind myself several times just to keep going and that my practice would be of benefit. In this way I got over my resistance to practice. Let’s see what happens tomorrow! Perhaps I will bounce out of bed like Tigger as soon as the alarm sounds – here’s hoping.
As I sit here now with the sun on my face, I am very glad I did my practice this morning. My daily practice is fundamental to my deepest aspirations as a human being in this world. If only the resisting me would realise – resistance is useless!
It is important to remember when you experience resistance to practice, don’t beat yourself up, just focus on your intention to practice, and your motivation or the reasons why you want to practice. Energy follows focus and so this will focus your energy on getting onto the cushion!
I have been working at Gaia’s this morning trying to catch up on my work after my visit to South Africa to visit Rob last week, a day trip to Samye Ling to lead a tutor day and a busy weekend of Christmas preparations with my mum. The speed of life and the volume of doing and the length of the to do list can be overwhelming. My mum commented, as others do from time to time, that they don’t know how I manage to keep it all going.
So what is the secret to getting so much done? Practice helps, as do regular breaks to walk in the park and a strong motivation founded on the meaning I find in my work. The main point to getting stuff done is ‘resistance is useless’ and by just keeping going guided by a value based intention, the things to be done seem to do themselves. It’s the striving for things to be different from how they are that is the hard work. From this perspective there is no need to rush! No need to do anything at all.
Still I need to get going, Gaia’s delicious lunch will be ready soon and I will need to get back to the computer this afternoon. The work won’t do itself – or will it?!
Heather Regan Addis
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