As I sat in pigeon the other day in yoga, listening to my breathing, the familiar mindfulness meditation language rose up in my head: may I be healthy, may I be happy, may I be calm, may I live with ease. (enormous apologies to Dani, Karen, Katrina, and all of you who can tell me how wrong I have it… that’s how the words come to me, so I’ve decided not to fight it!)
It occurred to me that that was really it: Ease.
That’s what I want. Everything else I say I want can be folded into this single thing. I want to live with ease. To let the clouds of my emotions and reactions skid across the sky of my spirit without overly attaching to them. To let the weights of sorrow and joy, which are part of my life in near-equal measure, slide off my shoulders rather than staggering under them.
I grimaced as my hips screamed (pigeon is without a doubt my least favorite yoga pose, and equally unquestionably the one I need the most) and tried to return to my breath. Calm, health, peace, trust, light. They are all captured by ease. There was nothing easy about the discomfort – okay, fine, pain – I felt sitting there, my forehead sticky against my mat, my hip burning, my eyes shut as I tried to simply breathe. This is not ease, I thought, teeth gritted. But it is, almost surely, the path to ease.
I don’t know that I can untangle that paradox yet, but it posits an unavoidable truth: to achieve the life I want – a life with at least some quality of ease – I must head straight into the discomfort and learn to sit there. Only by facing that which causes pain can I dissemble it, reduce its power, learn to live without such ferocious reactions.
Which brings me back to the breathing and the mantra. Following those things, hand over hand like palming a rope to lead me through a dark room, seems the only way through. Through to what I truly, deeply, essentially want: ease.