Inside I have been feeling knotted up… not physically, even though it is a physical sensation, but it’s more of a feelings kind of thing. I feel like I’ve got a bundle of knots right around the top of my stomach and just below the base of my breast-bone. When I used to smoke cigarettes, this is kind of what it would feel like to need a smoke. I imagine a shrink would call it some sort of anxiety disorder or depression, and for most of my life I’ve called it that too. This feeling comes and goes, often quite whimsically and without warning. It’s my least favorite thing about myself, and it’s been the hardest thing for me to accept.

Meditation isn’t practiced with the intention of fixing anything, at least not at its purest form. Instead, meditation is meant to put the practitioner in touch with himself, and in my case, that includes these knots I’m feeling. It hasn’t made them go away, but it’s made me able to notice them as a feeling… a holy fucking hell powerful feeling… but a feeling inside my body. It’s not unlike the feeling I get when put my body through a physically demanding asana, but the power of these feelings in my body makes my mind go crazy. BlackRiver23.JPG

I suppose I have a fixer mindset. Present me with a problem, and I will work to fix it. This is what I’ve done with these knots over the years. I’ve done everything I can think of from smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey, to quitting all that and becoming an organic vegan. I’ve lifted weights and practiced yoga, written countless poems and made hundreds of paintings… all initially with the intention of fixing these knots. I’ve psychoanalyzed my life from today all the way back as far as I can remember. I ruminate on things I feel could be the cause of the sensations. I worry and brood, but to no end.

Yoga and meditation haven’t made the feelings or the worries go away. None of the things I’ve done ever totally fixed these feelings of tightness and worry, but I feel like I know myself better and I love myself more. Even on the days where the feelings are strong inside, and I feel like I might break, I know that I love myself and that this will pass. If I can sit and watch the feelings, as merely sensations in my body, like I would during yoga or meditation, I can begin to let go of the worrying thoughts and just feel it in the body. Somehow this makes it easier. I feel less guilty, less like I did something to deserve these feelings, and I am better able to wait for the knots to untie themselves again.

On days like today, where I feel this way, I go to my mat and I remember that no matter what, there is always a part of me that is safe and ok. That part of me can peek through the sensations and remember that I don’t deserve this, and that this will pass. That part of me realizes that I am so much more than these knotted feelings and the worries that come with them. That part of me that is always ok knows that I am loved and that I deserve love, and if I listen hard enough that part of me reminds me that I am love itself.

Aum Shanti, Shanti, Shanti