Modern warfare, ancient solution

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Meditation practice is regarded as a good and in fact excellent way to overcome warfare in the world:  our own warefare as well as greater warfare.

-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, opening quote for Day 265, Meditations from the Mat  Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga

Day 265 – The ultimate goal of pranayama, Rolf writes, is meditation.  And in practicing pranayama, “we take a stand…we take responsibility for everything we do and do not do.”  Rolf promises if we do so authentically, we will “encounter our blocks to love…the nature of our own war with reality.”

At this point in my practice, I’m wondering how meditation and pranayama are truly different for it seems the same process to me.  I sit (or recline) and breathe in and out (or as instructed).  I notice thoughts come in and out of my mind, discomforts arise, and sometimes perhaps my mind rattles through a ta-do list, but I bring my attention back to the breath.  I feel accomplished.  I have stamina.  I can practice almost 20 minutes now.  More importantly, across my sessions, I have encountered the ta-do list, the running “got to-got to-got to” train.  Slowly, over time and practice, I have learned how to bring my attention back to the present.  Moreover, the mother-wife-teacher mantra doesn’t just silence for a bit, it truly has dissolved.

However, the constant train of thought, refusing to budge from all the items of action which must be done, is powerful; it is, as Rolf coins it, my “block to love.”  Coupled with a healthy–or maybe not so healthy–dose of the news and work demands, things can get pretty out of control quickly.  Pranayama brings me back.  And, I, too, realizing that nightmares and niggling anxiety in the evening hours are signs of stress, whereby my mind unleashes warfare upon my body, know that through pranayama and meditation I am developing “the willingness to let go.”

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