A Gift of Love to the Self
By Matt Vidler
Through a regular practice of Qigong (energy cultivation) and Yoga Asana and meditation, my life journey continues to reveal discoveries and mysteries, contemplations and delusions. All of which I accept fully and lovingly.
When one’s spiritual practice starts as an expression of love and compassionate self-awareness, it is easier to continue to do and actualize as an integral activity or facet of one’s life. The thought is love, the purpose is love, the decision is love, the action is love, the reward is love, the result is love.
I’ve learned that discomfort is an excellent teacher. Leaving our comfort zones is ideal – not that we should always be pushing our boundaries. But we are often so complacent within our boundaries that we invent stories with a kind of permanence. “This is who I am,” is one of the most delusional statements there is. Certainly, we can easily identify with old patterns and habits – one of mine is drinking more cappuccino than I think I should – but I am allowing this attachment to define me in part. We can continue to have personality traits or idiosyncrasies, but to believe that they are unchangeable or permanent is nonsense. What we might say, rather, is “I’ve got some work to do on this or that,” or “I observe myself repeating this trait/habit/behaviour.”
All of this observation needs to occur without judgement. A simple acknowledgement, without loading meaning and conceptualization. Again, it is so important to practice compassionate self-awareness or ahimsa. Ahimsa more fully means non-violence and compassionate awareness to others and self. To fully practice this means not doing violence to the self – which could include emotional or mental violence, negative self talk, or perseveration of thoughts of worthlessness. Judging or condemning the self is a form of abuse or violence. This is the fundamentally important reason why we need to increase mindfulness, detached observance, becoming the “witness” to our selves. The witness is simply observing “There is Matt drinking cappuccino.” No judgement, just fact.
I have found that my personal practices allow me to make space within my Self; letting go, if only even temporarily, of habits and patterns. This spaciousness then allows me to breathe and observe the inner wisdom rising from within the heart, the Anahata Chakra – the place where one knows and feels truth without needing words. This practice is a gift that only the Self can give to the Self.
Matt Vidler is a Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Zen Yoga Instructor, Certified 200 hour Master’s Path Medical Qigong Instructor, Paddle Canada Certified Flat Water SUP Paddling Instructor and SUP Yoga Instructor. He teaches yoga and Qigong to both adults and children, in studios, in schools and on water.
@yogamanmatt on Twitter