Has anyone ever said these 3 words to you that had you feeling dimissed, discounted, put down or misunderstood: “You’re too sensitive.”? In a workshop I am teaching this week, at Grail Springs, the subject came up when we were speaking of the inner critic. Several people shared that they were told this as children, so they shut down, withdrew and held back being authentically themselves. As adults their relationships may still carry a flavor of that and perhaps they may give themselves that message. I offered the perspective that it might mean going into all experiences with all senses fully alive and aware, open to whatever the day delivers, rather than resisting what is. The concensus of the group seemed to be in alignment with that thought.
Then this morning in meditation class, the instructor named Ava, a seasoned, wise woman around my age spoke about the Buddha’s teaching that connected with mindful breathing and she used the two words that he was said to have advised: “be sensitive”. Knowing smiles, nods, winks and giggles passed around the room as one of the retreat participants shared that this was the subject we spoke about last night. I asked Ava if she was sure she wasn’t a fly on the wall or had been eavesedropping on our conversation. In spirituality, there really is no separation and great minds indeed do think alike.
She than played a crystal singing bowl to begin our practice and I could literally feel as if my entire body was that instrument, being attuned. The sound waves that were generated by the mallet being run along the edge of the bowl, remained with me throughout the entire 20 minute sitting time. I had occasional urges to move, stretch, contemplate, plan, run away…you name it. That has been the nature of my meditation practice for the past 30 years….being called back and then, like an antsy toddler, inching away and then scampering away and then being beckoned back. Over and over. That’s why it is called a practice. It is never the same any one time. Ava also elaborated on the idea that when we have a peak experience on the cushion, we strive to recreate it and we never can, since each is unique. The efforting, the striving, the pushing to…..only chases it away. The allowing, the receptivity, the opening to what is, both on and off the cushion..THAT is the real practice for me. I can be all zen, all blissed out in meditation or yoga and then arise from the floor, walk through the door and get zapped by monkey mind thoughts. It is when I return to the breath, the just ‘is’, that I am back in synch with Spirit. It is then that I can celebrate my sensitivity to myself and the world around me.
www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D1GhHplAwitI We Are Awakening by Deva Premal and Miten