Conjuring Contentment

If you’ve practiced yoga for any length of time, you may have noticed that the peace and contentment found in your meditation or yoga practice can be difficult to conjure and maintain in the throws of everyday life. Annie Dillard captures the inevitability of this struggle beautifully in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

I live by a creek, Tinker Creek…It’s a good place to live; there’s a lot to think about. The creeks…are an active mystery, fresh every minute. Theirs I the mystery of the continuous creation and all that providence implies; the uncertainty of vision, the horror of the fixed, the dissolution of the present, the intricacy of beauty, the pressure of fecundity, the elusiveness of the free and the flawed nature of perfection. The mountains…are a passive mystery, the oldest of all. Theirs is the one simple mystery of creation from nothing, of matter itself, anything at all, the given. Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back as some creeks will. The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But the mountains are home.”  ~ Annie Dillard.

The world, our social, emotional, and physical lives are dynamic and tumultuous. We ride highs, crawl through lows, and muddle through the the mundane. It is easy to get swept along with the creek’s current and loose the lucidity found in the present moment, and with it our sense of peace and contentment.

I invite you to stop throughout your day, climb out of the creek, and come home to the mountains. Give your full attention to what is happening in the moment. Orient yourself before stepping back into the current. Look around, what is actually happening right now? What is in front of you? Table, curtain, sky. Feel your feet on the ground. Feel the sensations of breath and emotion without labels. When you begin to move again, move from the miracle of mountains.