Breaking Samskaras: A Rest in the Pause
Time moves quickly and the older I grow, the more quickly it seems to move. As we move through our Samsaras or cycles, and continue our habits or Samskaras, it can be easy to transition from one to the next without acknowledging the transition itself. We can be so caught up in moving onto the next season, next holiday, next task, that we can forget about the journey there. And it is when we are moving unconsciously that we slip into our habits - both positive and negative, yet unaware in both.
As I write this, I am reflecting on my recent trip to Michigan. A visit to family, an opportunity to see autumn in action. The drive we took to the Upper Peninsula was one we have driven many times over the years and so it was very familiar, but also different. A different time in my life, my parents and I are in different places than we have been years past, and the destination itself has transformed over the years. Traveling such a familiar path, it can be easy to slip into the comfort of expectation, of knowing the transitions, the habits, get caught up in the nostalgia, and not be present for the actuality of the moment, allow the moment to land on us, to make an impression.
When we continue on the same path we have always taken, whether it be a physical, mental, or emotional path, the more often we travel it, the deeper that groove, habit or Samskara can become. And just like ruts in a road, it can be very difficult to move off of that path to explore other avenues. When traveling with my folks, it would have been easy and comfortable to get caught up in the nostalgia, and gone through the motions of that familiar ride. And while I enjoyed and embraced the nostalgia of the customary and delicious stop at the cider mill, I also chose to take a pause, take a rest within that pause, and witness the actual experience unfolding.
Sharing with them the thoughts and struggles I am currently navigating, rather than tuck them away quietly.
It can be scary to try to change the route we take, or the way we react to something. Whether a reaction to a co-worker or loved one during a familiar conversation, or while on our mat when we are face to face with a pose that we have strong feelings about. Feelings that move us forward or keep us stuck...in a rut. If we take a pause, begin with the breath and rest within that pause, we can become a witness to our Samskara. By simply witnessing our Samskaras, acknowledging they are there, we begin the process of change. Take it slowly, don't try to change the path all at once. Let the grooves of that same old song slowly transform into a new variation.
Take a rest in the pause.
"That gap between breaths is your access point to the extraordinary and miraculous in your practice." ~Baron Baptiste