• Morven Hamilton

“What’s so good about the here and now?"

she asked.

I was teaching a Yoga for Healthy Sleep workshop at the Folk House in Bristol last Saturday. It’s a workshop that has been running regularly for the last few years, attracting people who are tired of being tired, and who are ready to empower themselves to achieve proper rest and relaxation. After restorative yoga, pranayama and relaxation we discuss yogic techniques including meditation. The practice of observing the thoughts and anchoring to the present has been expounded by sitting enthusiasts over millenia as a path to inner peace and lasting happiness. In fact, the manifesto is set forth with such unerring conviction, it had never occurred to me that the alternative may be preferable.





“My thoughts are much more interesting than the here and now. I prefer to be in my stories.”

Brilliant. This assertion seized my attention, and over the last few days I have set about it with both amusement and curiosity. What IS so good about the here and now? Aside from being the place where you fall into restful sleep. What’s so good about this same old room, the same old people, same old routine, same old chores? What’s so good about that niggling feeling of sadness, irritation or anxiety? Why wouldn’t you want to be absorbed forever in a world of distraction and fantasy?

I can’t answer those questions for anyone else. Consciousness is a choice, and as someone who spent the first few of decades of my life lost in stories and hurtling around in hedonism, I choose reality. In the here and now I can make conscious choices about who I want to be, and what I bring into the world. When I am controlled by my thoughts I act unconsciously and not only do I miss 99% of what is going on around me but the effect that I have on my environment is a potluck hit or miss product of whatever is triggering me. I am reminded here of Henry David Thoreau’s famous quotation, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Who can really say that they consciously affect every moment?

The monkey mind syndrome is a product of the ego, and left to run wild it feeds ever more voraciously on stimulation from the outside world. Like a naughty monkey, it picks up thoughts, impressions and memories, runs around with them briefly then sees something else it fancies and jumps to that, creating an incoherent jumble of half-baked ideas, repeated stories and one-sided arguments. This car boot sale of “pre-loved” thoughts is what makes up the vast majority of our thinking mind, and like a stall full of brightly coloured things, or a string of adverts on TV it appears briefly to be interesting when it is merely distracting. Spend any length of time sitting and watching your thoughts and imagine who would buy the film rights to that content. Right, I thought not. Even surrealists need to stylise and provide a context for nonsense in order for it to be called art.



Merging of the conscious and unconscious



“My thoughts are much more interesting than the here and now. I prefer to be in my stories.”

Brilliant. This assertion seized my attention, and over the last few days I have set about it with both amusement and curiosity. What IS so good about the here and now? Aside from being the place where you fall into restful sleep. What’s so good about this same old room, the same old people, same old routine, same old chores? What’s so good about that niggling feeling of sadness, irritation or anxiety? Why wouldn’t you want to be absorbed forever in a world of distraction and fantasy?

I can’t answer those questions for anyone else. Consciousness is a choice, and as someone who spent the first few of decades of my life lost in stories and hurtling around in hedonism, I choose reality. In the here and now I can make conscious choices about who I want to be, and what I bring into the world. When I am controlled by my thoughts I act unconsciously and not only do I miss 99% of what is going on around me but the effect that I have on my environment is a potluck hit or miss product of whatever is triggering me. I am reminded here of Henry David Thoreau’s famous quotation, “To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Who can really say that they consciously affect every moment?

The monkey mind syndrome is a product of the ego, and left to run wild it feeds ever more voraciously on stimulation from the outside world. Like a naughty monkey, it picks up thoughts, impressions and memories, runs around with them briefly then sees something else it fancies and jumps to that, creating an incoherent jumble of half-baked ideas, repeated stories and one-sided arguments. This car boot sale of “pre-loved” thoughts is what makes up the vast majority of our thinking mind, and like a stall full of brightly coloured things, or a string of adverts on TV it appears briefly to be interesting when it is merely distracting. Spend any length of time sitting and watching your thoughts and imagine who would buy the film rights to that content. Right, I thought not. Even surrealists need to stylise and provide a context for nonsense in order for it to be called art.


https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/yoga-community-podcast/id450919029?mt=2

http://yogacommunity.libsyn.com/

https://audioboom.com/channel/yogacommunitypodcast


To find out about Yoga and Mindfulness or about about other classes, workshops and retreats run by Morven, please visit www.bristolcommunityyoga.co.uk


Resources:

Christophe André, Méditer Jour Aprés Jour

Thoreau, Walden Pond