Friday, January 06, 2006

Jan.6: Comfort as danger and reminder

This is a weird thing, the comfort thing. In one way, it’s ruining the world. In another way, we are ruining ourselves by not paying attention to real comfort. Wow, what is that all about?

Ruining the World:
I just saw in the Sierra Club magazine that 27% of the car trips that Americans take are a mile of less. This is how comfort is ruining the world. We are too afraid to use our feet, or to get a little exercise, or to take a little time, or to be a little hot or cold, or to wear ourselves out a little bit carrying something that we get in the car auto-matically to go anywhere. Automatons, automatic, we are in a trance of addiction to this monsters of ease, we just turn a key, move a steering wheel, push some pedals on the floor ( most too lazy even to use a stick shift anymore), and drift off to the next place.

Many with a cell phone at mouth and ear. Another addiction, the yammer of conversation. What are we talking about? Our location as we drive in our car. Our opinions about some other conversations. What we are going to do or eat in the future. What we have done and ate in the past. Comfortable in the fossil fuel car trance, zoned further in the yammer trace, we go about avoiding life in the moment.

Missing Our Moments:
And yet, in that moment, we pay very little attention to real comfort. To whether we are sitting or standing in a way that allows us t move and breathe comfortably. And when we finally unglue ourselves from our offices and couches and chairs, if we do decide to exercise, the big tendency is to take at it masochistically. To strain is to gain. Yoga for muscles. Pushing ourselves. Comfort and awareness be damned, let’s make this hurt, then we feel as if we are living.

We have forgotten how to sense ourselves as an ordinary, all day, everyday practice. We just call in an awareness of our selves as physical beings when we are hurt, or when we are having sex, or when we are pushing ourselves to dance faster, or run harder, or do yoga with more strain.

Again, the present is lost in all this, since the orientation is to get something out of jogging or dancing or yoga. The pleasure of the moment is forgotten, as we push our bodies around “for our own good.”

To slow down and feel just what we’d really like to do in that moment, this we don’t have time for. To do something like Feldenkrais or tai chi, or yoga with real attention, this is just living. This is just now. Not enough for the part of us that wants to be bigger and stronger, or buffer, or thinner, or more “fit.”

Ah, me. And right now, even as I type in these words, am I giving enough attention to placing my eyes and head in a comfortable position, and attention to my breathing coming in and out.

Not really.

But to ask the question: How am I breathing now? And to ask: Where am I tensing now that I can release a little of a lot? These begin to bring me back to a sense of my real self in the real world of air and light and sound and gravity. A sense of myself by sensing myself. A very rich world. A world we all tend to abandon way too often. Luckily, now is always waiting for us. Breath is always there to be followed. Gravity, on this planet, can always be felt in our skeleton, Our awareness can always be placed so that we know, aha, this is what it is like to be me, right now


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