Grounding In Vs Checking Out

For the past two weeks, I have become increasingly aware of how much I check out in life. This line of inquiry first came about when I was sitting for meditation last week and found myself struggling to pay attention to the directions given.

Off the mat, I noticed that a similar thing happened within certain relationships and around certain conversations. Again my body would be physically present and my mind, my heart, and my awareness would be somewhere else.

In having some time to sit with this, I have come to understand that a part of me is really uncomfortable being fully present. In such moments, it feels as though this quiet rumble of anxiety comes up and I do whatever I can to quiet that discomfort –  or at least distract myself from being a witness to that discomfort.  This isn’t always the case, mind you. However it is a frequent enough occurrence for me to have noticed.

As I am someone who has not only practiced yoga for a while, but also guides others to be more mindful and present, I have noticed there is a lot of judgment that pops up around all of this. The thought that comes up says, “You should be able to sit and quiet your mind and reach nirvana by this point in time.”

This judgment, of course, only adds fuel to the fire of discomfort and often results in me acting in all sorts of ways that are not in alignment with how I wish to show up in the world. 

The solution to this, comes from the work of Ekhart Tolle in the Power of Now. He writes: “The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some super human accomplishment and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with being.”

To return to our natural state of felt oneness with Being, the best thing – at least for this little vatta – is to engage with things that really require that I slow down and connect to the present moment fully. (Some examples include a slow meditative walk, preparing a meal from scratch, tending to my plants, or doing some slow asana poses.)

By engaging in these types of practices, I can more easily ground into the present moment and re-establish a sense of safety and stability in my own essence. Once having reconnected to my own power, I have the ability fully stand up and be present with whatever life may be asking of me in a given moment so that I can show up in alignment with who I wish to be.

The question I have for you, is what do you need to do to ground down to check in versus check out?

Whatever those practices might be, the next time you feel a little lost or scattered, take a few moments to reconnect with self in order to know how you’d like to proceed forward. After all, as Tolle and Buddha remind us, this is the only moment we ever have.