Are you the sort of yogi who dozes off in savasana? Who loses track of watching your breath during pranayama? Who ends up thinking about your to-do list in the midst of asana practice?
Well, then, you are probably a Normal Person. Being aware of when you have dozed off, when you’ve lost track of your breath, and being able to come back to your body when in poses means that you have woken yourself up – even if it happens a trifle late.
I practice a few awareness exercises “off the mat” to varying degrees of success:
1) Brushing my teeth – My electric toothbrush is set for a two minute timing. With all the best intentions, I’ve never been able to attend to each tooth in my head because my mind always wanders off before the end of the timing. I’m still working on this one.
2) Standing in the Woolie’s queue – I remind myself to stay present, in my body, in the store, observing other shoppers, the check-out chicks, but in no time at all, I’m rehashing earlier conversations, judging the people I see, and impatiently noticing I ended up in the slowest lane.
3) Eating – This is a big area. It includes those times when I get up from my desk and make myself a cuppa, accompanied by a snack, even though I may have only had breakfast an hour earlier. It also takes in eating without savouring – not noticing tastes, textures, aromas, temperature of the food. I intend to eat slowly but it’s a dead give away when I end up finishing twice as quickly as anyone else at the table.
4) Driving – I get from Mitchells Island to Taree, intending to have noticed the beautiful countryside along the way, but instead I don’t remember much at all from the trip. How is that possible? I probably avoided a road accident by being an experienced driver on automatic but sadly, I missed the ride.
5) Listening – Waiting for someone to finish their conversation can be a great opportunity to really hear what they have to say. This one I’m not too bad at (probably because I hate when people interrupt me).
The passage below from the very unorthodox guru, Osho, equates awareness and meditation with living totally:
Every moment there is a possibility to be total. Whatsoever you are doing, be absorbed in it so utterly that the mind thinks nothing, is just there, is just a presence. And more and more totality will be coming. And the taste of totality will make you more and more capable of being total. And try to see when you are not total. Those are the moments which have to be dropped slowly, slowly. When you are not total, whenever you are in the head–thinking, brooding, calculating, cunning, clever–you are not total. Slowly, slowly slip out of those moments. It is just an old habit. Habits die hard. But they die certainly–if one persists, they die. ~