“Get your exercise”. Good advise, yeah? There is a battle going on below your chin. Don’t think because you’re not aware of it all the time, the only thing occurring down there is blood being pumped and lungs moving, etc. If you don’t consciously exercise your heart it get’s flabby. I don’t mean walking everyday. The exercise I am referring to is more like–feeling.
The mundane is insidious. The daily life is a sly, steady bombardment of visuals, color, sounds, countless thoughts, impulses, habits, patterns and reactions. Everything thrown into the Waring blender of bodily existence and served up in a large frothy glass that you drink from all day, and all night, for that matter. After a while it all begins to taste the same and functionality seamlessly, unnoticeably becomes a form of self protection.
There’s so much stuff coming at you that a lot of it has to get filtered out to maintain a level of sanity.
That’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because, hey it IS a chaotic event of nervous system stimulation that goes on continuously and you do need a filtering system. It’s bad because it is easy to forget to consciously exercise the event of simply being. Coming to rest, allowing the vulnerability of being to occur. Allowing whatever arises to do just that without grasping for it or running from it or abstracting it.
Those are things that are not taught in Mr Wilsons junior high P.E. class. But they are oh so necessary.
The heart is a muscle and must be exercised. It has unfathomable depth of feeling. Paradoxically, the body mind has a built in defense systems to not get overwhelmed and go into freefall. So the deep feeling part of the heart gets flabby. You don’t get out of breath, you just get kinda numb. Coming to rest gives those defenses time to safely unwind, become felt for what they are- just part of an intricate system. And with that bodily realization comes the graceful opportunity for the heart to come to balance and the defensive door opens to the room of vulnerability.
I am not going to presume to tell you or to generalize where you are or are not vulnerable. It is safe to say though, we do have those places where it is easier to keep busy and distracted than to allow things that go bump in the stillness and the quiet to start going bump in the stillness and the quiet.
Others I am sure, have their own venue for going someplace deep that allows for such stillness to occur. Personally I would be lost without time for meditation. That was made obvious to me as I sat this afternoon for the first time in several days, having let functional circumstance and tired body mind gain momentum down the steep hill of numbing automaticity. It doesn’t take long to forget to exercise the heart.
And the heart is such a feeling place to be. As the Spanish novelist, Miquel de Unamuno wrote in one of his short stories, “Ya es tarde”. It’s late now. Or one might say, “You never know how much time you have.” So just in case you haven’t been keeping up on your “exercise” routine, there’s no time like the present.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,