bring the sacred into the pause

by michelle on October 24, 2012

I just completed a two week Ayurvedic cleanse, which included a mono diet of kitchari, increased meditation and asana practice, and other sundry Ayurvedic practices all including some kind of warm oil.

I knew I was ready to impose some structure to my eating as I’d fallen back into old habits of skipping meals or eating a bowl of cold cereal for dinner, which in Ayurveda is felonious.

In confessing my recent faulty food choices, my cleanse guide, Traci, offered the following sage advice:

When you find yourself sitting in front of a plate of something you know isn’t good for you, pause.

Scoot the chair back.

Ask:

  1. How do I feel right now? Be curious. Are you hungry? Lonely? Frustrated? No judgment, just notice how you feel.
  2. Where is this behavior coming from? Laziness? Habit? Lack of desire to take care?
  3. Do I really want to have [it]? And the answer might be, Yes — it’s the easiest thing right now, it’s the best of my options, I really do want it knowing full well it’s not ideal.

While these questions are helpful with food choices, I’ve been playing with how they could be used during other times… times I could metaphorically “scoot the chair back” and pause.

Responding in conversation
Accepting or declining an invitation
Making a purchase

Slow down.  Get quiet.  Pause.

We were speaking of this idea in a group at the studio recently, commenting on how the answers to questions like this don’t come in the hurry of the day. There’s little room for an insight to arise while you’re cranking out your to-do list items and checking your calendar for your next scheduled thing. The sounds of your life (sometimes literally) are too loud to hear the whispers of deeper Truths.

We have to pause. We have to create a little distance.

And then we can notice…. between the breaths, between the thoughts. There is space. The space is sacred.

The Sacred is in the pause.

We don’t have to create it — it’s already there. We just have to notice.

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