Making the Most of: Grist for the Mill

Jun 27, 2013 | Healing, Health, Mindfulness Meditation, Wisdom, Yoga teaching  | 0 comments

Do you like words? Do you find that when you read a phrase that’s well-written, you stop and savour it? Let it roll around in your mind the way you roll a fine chocolate around in your mouth until it melts.
Do you file away particular expressions that you love to be brought out and displayed the way you would proudly flash a boutinaire or a necklace? I meditate while being guided by the audio recordings of Jon Kabat-Zinn, and, man, does he have a way with words! I have to come back to being mindful so I don’t get transported right out of the room.
Do you occasionally hear a tired expression, like skyscraper, for instance, and think: ‘Wow! Yes, that building is touching the clouds. I get it!” Suddenly the word is refreshed in your mind.
I wrote to a yoga student today and used the expression, ‘grist for the mill’, to describe the opportunity that’s available to her in dealing with an injury she has at the moment. I’ve been through quite a few ‘milling’ experiences in my life, so hopefully I wasn’t being arrogant with my advice.
Then, I got curious. What does ‘grist for the mill’ really mean? My source says grist is the grain that gets ground up to make flour, or the malt that has to get crushed to make mash. It’s not an easy process, grinding and crushing.
It’s also not easy to see the opportunities available in working with an injury that needs rehabilitating, or with a medical condition to exact a healing, or mining the process of ageing to discover any benefits.
Not easy, but useful. And possibly, enlightening and transformative. It’s really what yoga is fundamentally about: taking what’s there and experiencing it, and then possibly discovering that what’s there might be something better than you could have imagined.


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