When we meditate – whether we have been taught to use a mantra, to focus on the breath, or just to try and become as spacious as we can – we come closer to the infinite part of us.
This part, also called the Universal part, the transcendent Self, and the ground of being, as well as lots of other names (god, the divine, essence, etc.), gives us a sweet experience: it is pleasant to be there. We try and let go of our worries for the moment; we rest into the back of our body, and let the world pass by.
I used to think the point was to try to bring this pleasant equanimity back into my life: if I were successful at it, I would start saying “oh, either way is good” or “oh, that’s ok if the project doesn’t happen, I’m learning so much…” and no matter what happened, life would be pleasant.
It never happened . Thankfully, I had good teachers who told me it was never going to happen. For me, life, is about making choices that have consequences. This is the definition of Karma: the law of cause and effect.
So why do we make choices with negative affects? 1.) we are not yet sensitive or aware enough to realize what the effect will be, or 2.) we have covered up our innate desire to feel deeply nourished so we are choosing momentary pleasure instead.
When we become a parent, these choices have even greater affect: not just on us, but on our child. They are not just learning from what we say, of course; they learn how to move subconsciously from how we move; they learn how to breathe, what a normal daily rhythm is; and all sorts of other things by osmosis.
One of the reasons that the path to motherhood and beyond is so potent is that sometimes for the first time in our lives, we have a motivation to make positive choices that is stronger than the resistance our ego will always put up to change.
And that’s the point of meditation. When we take time out of life to try and detach from our desires, and we connect to the self that knows that we’ll be ok with any outcome – we uncover the deep nurturing energy within ourselves, and we can be more sensitive and aware as we make choices that will affect our children for their whole lives.
Sensitive to what? you ask. To the universal qualities of truth, beauty, and goodness when they arise. We will see more goodness in one choice over another. We will be attracted to beauty that opens us up and takes us out of our ego-based fears. We will know our truth when we hear it.
Of course, meditation only takes us so far. We become more open to our intuition, our deepest intentions, our awareness – whether it’s deciding whether or not to have a doula, sensing its time to stop breastfeeding, or figuring out whether to sleep train.
Let’s say it’s all going to be hard: to get the doula you might have to do some convincing. To start weaning, you’ll have to do some negotiating with both baby and yourself. To sleep train – whether you wait until baby can understand “no,” or you let him or her cry, it’s going to be difficult. We need strength – inner, powerful strength – to make the choices that are right for us.
That’s where yoga comes in. If meditation makes us more aware of the right choice for us, yoga helps us actually stand strong in that choice even when it’s hard. Yoga builds inner strength by inviting us to bring the steady, stable, earthy qualities from the feet into the core and root back down. We feel supported in our strong stance.
And while standing in Mountain Pose is hard, we do it anyway – every part of us engaged – to learn how step in to our center; to be unyielding about our decision to make choices from our radar for truth, beauty, and goodness that lies at the core our being.
So meditate and do yoga, mama. Here is a super easy way to start. It will help you make the choices you want to make, and help you to become the Ma you want to be. When I think I screwed something up with my kid, my mom always reminds me: “there’s very little you can do to your child that can’t be undone with some effort and time.” But who wants to un-do bad choices? Who has the time? Who wants to direct our efforts there?
Wouldn’t it be nice to get it right the first time? Each choice we make, increasing the goodness, beauty and truth for us and our family?
Stay tuned for a great, pleasant, and deep meditation that will help you make this happen – next week!