The joy of missing out.
What do you enjoy missing out on?
I truly enjoy missing out on New Year’s parties. (Kudos to all of you who get out there!)
I truly enjoy missing out on shopping excursions. (Kudos to you who LOVE these!)
I truly enjoy missing out on flying … oh, I’d love to go to Australia again, or try Norway or an exotic location … it’s the flying part. (Kudos to the world travelers!)
So, missing out on those things is an easy joy. Like:
And, as I listened to Yogarupa Rod Stryker’s New Year’s talk yesterday, a deeper challenge regarding “joy of missing out” resurfaced. He guided us in a meditation to cultivate feelings of joy — first in relation to joyful memories, then to release those memories & just sit with the joy itself. That we are innately joyful regardless of any past experience of joy. A quite profound practice.
Regarding meditation, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD, of The Himalayan Institute (& Yogarupa’s teacher) gave a talk recently on how to optimize our meditation practice. You can find the talk HERE. He speaks of what the yogi sages discovered through their experimentation with breath & meditation. Many of Panditji’s points struck me, & one in particular: that we begin to cultivate this peaceful flow of awareness — which is the ultimate goal of Yoga — when our minds can hold focus on our object of meditation for 7 seconds. 7 seconds. This is the BEGINNING, by the way, of progress on our path.
I tried it … I’m still trying it … let’s just say I’m whatever comes before a “beginner.”
Panditji speaks of how our technology is AWESOME … the ability to for so many more people to gain access to information, knowledge, connection … it’s amazing! We must recognize the advantages of this interconnectivity, & seek to use it for the good of all.
On the other hand, he notes how it’s been scientifically documented that our attention spans have drastically degraded … that while the technology has grown by leaps & bounds, our bodies/minds have not evolved at the same speed. Our nervous systems & minds are overwhelmed, consumed, & distracted.
The holding of our awareness — let alone calmly, peacefully — on one object for even a few seconds, let alone 7 seconds (& the ultimate goal being 48 seconds according to the yogis) has become all but impossible for the vast majority of us.
So, back to the joy of missing out.
There are a multitude of things that distract my attention on a daily basis. And when I think about these things, I KNOW the beneficial choice is to release my attachment to those distracting things. If I want more presence in my life/mind, with other people, in my work … giving up those things I’ve discerned as distracting would only optimize my meditation, but also my life.
And yet I haven’t cultivated a “joy of missing out” attitude regarding those things. Why? Well, there’s probably a “hit” — like a drug — of joy in those things for me. The experience doesn’t last, so I go back. There’s also a sense of “I’ll miss out. Feel less than … less informed? less cool? less of a yoga teacher? less woman/partner/young/beautiful/worthy? less … less … less … “
Where does Paul say in the Christian Bible that he knows what he shouldn’t do, but does it anyway?
“The mastery of the fluctuations of the mind is Yoga.” – Yoga Sutra 1.2
Yoga is not pretty poses … Yoga is cultivating a peaceful flow of awareness within … whatever we are doing / not doing. And it takes practice, again & again & again … what would 7 seconds of peaceful, inward flow of awareness look like?
Rather than ride this rollercoaster of distracting things, getting a hit of external joy now & then … which in turn distracts me from life in front of me … I could cultivate a “joy of missing out” … see where it takes me …
Presence. Calm, peaceful flow of awareness. Joy.
Wishing these things for you in the New Year!