- Carlos L’Abbate
In some traditions it is said that when one person dies, it is reborn into another body. And the reason of the rebirth is, according to these traditions, unfinished ‘business’, unfinished things that were not completed in the previous birth.
Some people are more open to these ideas, some are less. But what I find interesting is that these traditions also say that the process of waking up in the morning is similar to that of rebirth. We are peacefully sleeping when suddenly the mind starts operating, generating thoughts about all the things we need to do, and when the thoughts become strong enough we wake up. Many of us experience this. We wake up in the morning and start making lists of all of the things we need to do that day, planning for the day, trying to make sure that we cover some of the unfinished business from the previous days.
I was thinking about this because I was recently talking to a person that has been coming to Yogilates classes for some time now. I could always see that he has quite a bit of difficulty staying quiet because of the thousand of thoughts crossing his mind continuously, uninterruptedly. We had a conversation about it, and, although the talk was quite long, I thought I would bring the essence of it here, as I think many people have similar experiences to his.
In a nutshell, he said that because he had some problems in the past, he was determined to, in his own words, make sure he can have a roof above his head, and so his mind was constantly planning and thinking about his business.
There is nothing new about this. We all want to build that roof, we all want to feel more secure in the future. And of course, this is the right functioning of our mind. The mind is programmed to remember the past and plan for the future. Actually the mind IS the past and the future, and trying to secure the future is an aspect of the right actioning of the mind.
But the mind, besides this innate need to secure the future, has also the capacity for wisdom. And so, as it is important to allow the mind to do its job of securing the future, it is also important to make the mind pay attention to two other things.
— The first is that no matter how much we do to secure that future, it will never be enough. Never. And the reason is because, either clearly in the foreground of the mind or somehow hidden in the unconscious, we all know that we are mortal beings. We all know that there is nothing we can do to prevent death. And so the mind needs to know that no matter how much security we build, no matter how many things we get in life, no matter how rich or how many properties we get, we are NOT going to be absolutely secure, and that is a fact.
The mind’s task to secure the future is NEVER going to be a successful one and so it needs to know that the peace it’s looking for will never be found in that security.
Of course this does not mean we should not put energy in building our roof, but we just need to know that it will never be a completely successful task.
Now, we can come to terms with that. And the deeper and more heartfelt and sincere the understanding of this fact is, the more it can actually create profound peace.
— The second thing the mind has to pay attention to is that when I build a roof, any roof, it needs to have a very good foundation. This is fundamental. Now, what is this foundation?
The foundation has to be a deep and profound and loving acceptance of myself in this moment.
This roof I want to build in the future is based on the present feeling of being incomplete, both physically and emotionally: the sense that something is missing, that something is lacking, that I am not good enough. And so I try to build something, I try to build that physical and psychological roof in the future so that when I finally have it, I will feel more secure, more protected. This is what we do. Maybe more or less consciously, but this is what we are all doing and spending the majority of our time at.
Of course there is nothing wrong with trying to build that roof, but it needs to be built on a very strong foundation. And this foundation is a sense of love, of connection, of acceptance, of embracing myself in this moment as I am, including all the imperfections, all the lacks, all the missing things. This foundation is the love of myself as I am in this very moment, warts and all.
Of course the mind will tell us: ‘No, NO, you cannot love that! How could you? Don’t you see that it is not good enough? Don’t you see all the things that are missing, are lacking? Don’t you dare love that…!’
But we can learn to let that go, step back into ourselves, into our presence and say: ‘In this moment I love myself as I am’.
And then of course the future may or may not bring some of the things I want. That is why I am working for that future. But I need this foundation. And this foundation is now. Right now. It is the sensation of: ‘I am fine as I am’.
But this sensation is not a thought, nor a belief, nor an affirmation*. It is the actual experience of my presence. And in that presence, I am fine as I am.
I like very much the image of a bud. One can look at a bud and say: ‘One day, this will be a beautiful flower’. But one can also look at a bud and say: ‘What a beautiful bud’.
And this is what we feel like we are, we feel we are buds; that is why we wake up in the morning with ideas of what to do in the future so we can complete ourselves. We are flowering. But we don’t have to wait for the flower to open up. We should not wait. Instead, we can learn to love the bud. Why? Because it’s a beautiful bud. Why? Because it is.
And this has to happen now.
This is what I want the Yogilates classes to be build on. Not for the future, although of course the gym that we do will definitely have a consequence in the future. In the class, as we do the gym for the future, we embrace, accept and love what we are, as we are, in this moment.
Maybe I will be more flexible later; but I embrace my flexibility now. Maybe I will be stronger later, but I embrace my strength now. Maybe I will be more quiet in the future, but I embrace my mind now. May be I will be better/richer/happier later; but I embrace myself as I am now.
When I come into myself, I don’t just listen to my thoughts about the future, about the plans, about the possibilities. Besides that, I also listen to my presence, and when I do, I will see that I have no option but to love it. No matter how many unfinished things there are, no matter how many lacks or imperfections I find, I will love it. I will love myself.
When I find that presence, I will fall in love with it.
This presence is the foundation. And this can only happen now.
*Affirmations, the way it is often used, is the repetition of positive thoughts like for example ‘I like myself’ or ‘I am rich’ or ‘I am loved’, even if I don’t really believe in them. What I am talking about here has nothing to do with affirmations. What I am talking about is the actual experience of love.