Creative Commons License photo credit: formatc1
As mentioned in The Balanced Existence Challenge Day 4 I planed on taking today off from exercise and that’s what I did. I have some soreness around my right shoulder blade from TGUs with the 32kg (70lbs) kettlebell. With three solid days rest I feel it should pass.

I might have to consider easing up somewhat on the TGUs next week. I always play things according to the territory not according to the map. The map is not the territory. If there is a difference between the map and the territory the map is wrong. This is an important principle to remember in life.

Friday Meditation
What I did do today was some very enjoyable meditation. I sat down on the floor facing the wall in the bedroom with the window open. Once I’m comfortable and settled I like to close one nostril and take three long deep breaths through the single open nostril. Then I repeat this on the other side. Finally, I take three long slow breaths through both nostrils. I find this really focuses my mind and concentration down on the sensation of the breath at the nostrils. Which is what I use during meditation to develop single pointedness of mind.

I’ve also read that this can have the effect of re-equalizing the left and right side of the brain. I actually read that first and then read of the practice I just described in a Buddhist book on meditation and have used it ever since.

My meditation practice is simple. However, in many ways it’s different each time I sit. I have a general structure but try to be as open as possible to creative inspiration. Sometimes it occurs that I do what I call being the sky. This begins with slowing down. Achieved by centering the mind on one physical sensory input. In this case the feeling of the breath at the rim of the nostrils. Breath and mind gradually merge. The calmer one becomes the more refined the breath. The more refined the breath the more one must focus single-pointedly on the ever slighter sensation.

Eventually the breath is tuned and then perhaps I just sit and identify with consciousness itself. Thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, memories and so forth are like clouds flittering across the sky (consciousness). If one identifies with consciousness and not the clouds (thoughts, etc) then the clouds they come and they go. Each in their own time. However I have noticed the less one identifies with the clouds and the more one just lets go the quicker they move on. Just as quick as they appear.

What’s the Point?
With this sort of practice perhaps next time you’re stressed, sick or tired and become irrationally furious at your partner because of some little thing that is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, if you identify with consciousness you will not identify with the anger. You will experience your anger. No doubt. But you will neither reject it nor fan the flames.

Instead you may for the first time actually really experience your life and because you will have practiced letting go, when it’s time for the anger to subside it will do so of it’s own accord. While this is happening you have not felt the need to act out your anger in the manifest world as you may habitually have done before. Of course you could if you so choose. But importantly the choice is yours. Otherwise what is happening is just the product of conditioning. You are not much more then an animation replaying what has already been played before.

Letting go is the only real way to gain control.

Weight Report
After starting the week at 80kg (176lbs) I ended the working week at 79kg (173lbs), which is normal for me. I tend to gradually drop weight over the working week and then occasionally put a little weight on some weekends when I am a little more flexible with my diet. I like the 80/20 rule. Eat 100% clean for 80% of the time and then let your hair down a little for 20% of the time.

If you’re feeling restricted because eating healthy is a new behavior and still new for your body then this may help. Try for yourself and if it does keep it. If it doesn’t then discard it. For me 20% means maybe a home brewed beer, or a bowl of Japanese Ramen, or hot chips and a few scallops or a real hamburger with lots of salad on it or some pizza. At most it’s one, maybe two, of these things in a week.

The key to remember is that it’s not a license to binge. If weight and health is a critical problem for you at this stage you might want to be more like 90/10. The idea is to transition. Most people can’t handle switching cold when it comes to anything in their life. Particularly if your friends, family and workmates continue to eat what ridiculously passes for “normal”.

While I am (comparatively speaking) extremely health conscious I also wont lie to you and personally don’t believe the hype many puritanical health freaks put out there. I’ve read from several sources over the years regarding such things as studies where hair analysis was carried out on hardcore vegetarians or long term spiritual retreat members that showed they in fact ate animal products recently.

A lack of congruency of this nature and outright lying is not going to be good for anyone. Lying to yourself and others while silently beating yourself up is not going to help you remain positive and persist with long-term improvement. If you slip up (and you will) just admit to yourself that you slipped up and get back on the horse. The past is past. All that matters is what you do next. Be creative, try different strategies and learn from your mistakes. Have a great weekend!

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