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    Inner Space

           Once I shared what was happening inside of me with my class at Kripalu (as I wrote about in my post Sharing Is Shifting), I felt a sense of belonging, of community, and things began opening up for me. My experience became broader, as other thoughts besides those of self doubt and self judgement floated through my mind. Sadness took a back seat to a sense of wonder, and I felt a bit more at peace. I wasn’t quite jumping for joy, but possibilities opened up as some space was created within me.
           “Creating space within” was one of the key terms I heard during our group meditation sessions. When I first heard it, I didn’t quite know what the hell our instructor Jonathan Foust was talking about. Initially, I had a hard time conceptualizing it, but I’ve come to my own understanding of what it means, and that understanding is still developing. For me, creating space within means allowing for more of who I am to be available for my life. Creating space within means getting a sense of how vast I am inside, and how that vastness can translate into inner and outer freedom. It means visualizing that I am this giant place within, where anything is possible. It means not becoming consumed by any particular thought, groups of thoughts, or feelings, even if those feelings hold great power. It means opening up to whatever is happening, inside of me and thus in the exterior context of my life, with less judgement, less criticism, and less monkey mind mental gymnastics.
           Through my sharing with, and hence my connection to, our group, some space opened up for a realization I had the next day while stretching. At the beginning of our morning meditation, I was sitting cross legged and doing a group stretch, right hand overhead, moving to my left and towards the floor. I noticed how tight I was, like I always do. I immediately went into my internal dialogue. It’s worth noting that usually, when I talk to myself, my mind refers to my body, and to me, in the second person, as a “You”. My mind is very invested in believing that it is a completely separate entity from my body, separate indeed from my very being. I could do a whole post on that internal sense of separation, but for now, let’s just leave that food for thought on the table. Anyway, my mind says to me “Jesus, you’re tight! You’ve gotta be the tightest “healthy” person on the planet. Okay, let’s push through this....stretch harder....pull baby pull.....maximize this should hurt or it’s not doing anything.....”. Yeah, I know. Brutal. And remember, this is supposed to be a light, easy morning stretch. I bet your mind talks to you like that too.
           Because some space had opened up for me, however, I caught myself talking to myself like that and heard a different voice inside. This voice was gentler, kinder, more allowing, and although not a whisper, not a scream like the last one was. This voice said to me, “How about just noticing how tight we are, allowing us to be like this, and stretching as far as you can without pain.”. And, notice how this inner voice referred to the entire amalgamation of “Me” as “We”.
           Wow. You mean I don’t have to muscle my way through this stretch? I can just notice and allow and be with it? I don’t have to “maximize the experience” by beating myself up and pushing through pain?
           I paid attention to this other voice. And that lead me to another insight, an even broader and bigger one, that I’ll share with you in my next post about Kripalu.

    ©2013 Clint Piatelli. MuscleHeart, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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