A fellow yoga teacher, a student, and I shared a smoothie pot of banana, soy milk, and sunflower seeds. My colleague was visiting Dublin after having moved to a Hare Krishna castle in Radhadesh, Belgium. He took a knife and separated some sticky Belgian milk sweets for us to share. Our student took a saffron spiced piece with the texture of dense-ricotta, savoured the flavour by hugging it with her tongue, and nodded her head at the banana smoothie.
She said carefully, “I’ve only just started to think about getting to know myself. I’ve been practicing mindfulness. I’m really enjoying it, but I’m worried that if I get too much into my own head, I’ll lose connection with the world around me. What do you think?”
All my cells wanted to hug her. They experienced little electric jolts as my eyelids smiled and I said, “Oh, I think it’s quite the opposite. I think it will enhance your connection with other people.”
But it’s an important question, to both inspire beginner yogis and to bring advanced practitioners back to their roots:
What exactly happens when you dive into yourself?
1. Life becomes overwhelmingly beautiful. Whenever I find myself forgetting the beauty in life, I go back to director David Lynch’s comparison of discovering donuts to discovering transcendental meditation. It’s a thrilling experience, as he would say.
2. The ego (who you perceive yourself to be and how you want others to see you) dims and you see who you really are. In this sweet spot, your hidden potentials and uncharted passions wondrously reveal themselves--go deep with this insight.
3. You tap into a very deep-rooted strength, stability, and freedom. These nuggets of wisdom are then carried throughout all you do, all you create, and everyone you interact with.
4. You find beauty, healing, and love in the most unassuming places. Anything, from a peanut butter sandwich to a daily bath, contains magical lightness.
5. Everything you do and think becomes significant. You choose your words, thoughts, and actions more carefully and it shows in your relations with others.
6. The skin you live in feels precious. You learn to love your bones, your specific shape, and all the intricate details that make up your skin-covered home.
7. You see things more clearly. Things like how someone’s aloof behaviour means that they’re really shy, or that the person sitting opposite to you in a café is reading your favourite book. These clues are the seeds of new relationships.
8. You learn to surround yourself with people and experiences that nourish your growth, and learn to let go of things that hinder you.
As the last of the banana smoothie was slurped, the three of us glanced at each other with afterglows from a serendipitously deep conversation. It was refreshing. It was healing. And we lingered in our blissful space of connectedness.
“I'm going to let you in on a little secret: every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it; don't wait for it; just let it happen. It could be a new shirt in a men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black, coffee.”
Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks