The seasons are changing. I've been seeing snow on people's Facebook posts (although not in my own garden yet). And today's walk was unpleasant. It was wet, and windy, and cold. The rain was kinda misty and everywhere.
We have an aversion to the unpleasant. We seek out pleasant things, sometimes at costs to ourselves. Thinking that we will find happiness in things, experiences, people outside of ourselves, we pursue these things, experiences, interactions that make us feel good, and avoid those that make us feel unhappy, unpleasant. Now, I'm not suggesting that the things that make us feel good are bad, and I'm not saying that we should look to be uncomfortable all the time. But, rather, as Swami Vivikananada said, "Neither seek nor avoid, take what comes."
So, as I walked in the uncomfortable cold, trying to find the happiness within, I thought of things that I say to my students while I'm teaching them. There are several poses that we do in Yin classes (sometimes — don't be afraid to come to class, I don't do these very often, and there are always modifications) that are uncomfortable. I remind people to stay with the discomfort, to be aware of what the mind is doing, of how it tries to talk us out of the discomfort (It's ok, you can just leave for a moment. Or, forget it, this is awful, I'm outta here!). It's in the discomfort that changes occur. It's when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones that the magic starts to happen.
I don't know if magic happened on my walk. I walked. I came home. I certainly felt good for having exerted myself, and for having accomplished what I set out to do. I was cold, though, and that took some time to lessen. The word of Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet, came to mind. "If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?"
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