Q: You know what’s even harder than meditation?
A: Interpersonal meditation.
When I explain it, you will tell me it doesn’t sound very hard. You will tell me it sounds way easier than private meditation. I will tell you: maybe it depends on your strengths.
I tend to be a “stuffer.” I’m like the clown shoving that infinite scarf back into its mouth instead of pulling it out. Anger gets stuffed. Dishonesty gets stuffed. Frustration gets stuffed. Any unpleasant feeling gets stuffed.
So I come across cool and calm (and often indifferent or aloof) at all times. I’m not high-stress. I am absurdly low-key.
Except then I join an interpersonal meditation circle. And I’m supposed to start every one of my sentences with, “I feel . . .”
And I’m not allowed to explain or justify it.
I can say, “I feel sad tonight,” but I can’t say, “I feel sad because I still have this stupid cough and I’m in a fight with so-and-so and I really miss my family, and, and . . .”
Just, “I feel sad tonight.”
Right now. This is how I feel. And I won’t explain it.
I know that in yoga, you are supposed to accept wherever you are at on any given day and embrace your own efforts. However, on Friday night, I did a very poor job participating in interpersonal meditation.
Because I’m a stuffer.
I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over this the last few days. Wondering what I would have accomplished had I been more engaged in the practice. Because why should I tell almost strangers how I’m feeling on a crappy Friday night?
And then it hit me this morning: what we practice on the mat, we are teaching ourselves to practice in life.
I tend to “stuff” because I have the attitude that no one wants to hear it. If I feel anything that isn’t the consensus, if I am fine when someone else is sad, or if I am angry when everyone else feels light and free, I don’t want to say it. Nobody likes the girl who’s bringing everyone down.
Except, I realized this morning, my perception is not always reality. And many people are open enough to want to hear it.
And even if they are not, that’s not a good enough reason for me to keep my thoughts to myself. It’s not a good enough reason to “stuff.”
Living that way is accepting that others have control over me. It is a sacrifice of authenticity for the sake of “keeping the peace.” And that’s not an honest or fulfilling life.
Q: What’s harder than admitting you’re crappy at something?
A: Doing it differently next time.
I’ll let you know how it goes.