The balance of effort and ease is a common thread that runs through every mindfulness practice. Whether you are in seated meditation or engrossed in a sweaty yoga class, practicing mindfulness can be akin to walking on the beach.
At first glance, a walk on the beach may seem easy. Like you may remember from this post, walking on the beach can be relaxing but also requires a certain amount of effort. It isn’t purely work, and it isn’t purely rest. It’s a bit of both.
The same can be said for something like meditation. There is effort in the discipline of simply showing up. There is a certain amount of focus required. Paradoxically, there is the invitation to let go and let be.
During a walk on the beach, your muscles are actually working pretty hard (and maybe very hard if you are chasing after a speedy toddler….). Your senses, however, are otherwise engaged. Beautiful sights and a sweet salty breeze dilute sensations of muscular strain.
Sustaining a tricky yoga pose can be a similar experience. Your quads might be burning but by focusing on the breath simultaneously, a sense of relief diffuses the discomfort.
Picking up a mindfulness practice helps perception go from black and white, to shades of gray, and maybe even technicolor if we are lucky. Opening to all the senses allows effort and ease to work in tandem, or maybe more accurately, awakens us to the fact that they always have been.
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