There are situations in our daily lives that can test even the most patient of us, despite our best efforts. Tolerance and patience notwithstanding, many of us tend to create more stress for ourselves (and we know who we are) by trying to hold ourselves to a much higher standard than in humanly possible. The operative word here is “human”. No matter how good we are at multi-tasking, or our level of skill and talent, we tend to take ourselves to task over every small detail, and berating ourselves when something goes wrong or an error is made. This tends to create unneeded stress, and as we all know, this can create a situation in which we feel we can do nothing right. At that point, we tend to forget that we are waking around in human bodies and with human minds, both prone to error if not given appropriate care. Bodies require food and drink and rest or they cease to function or function at less than 100% capacity. Today we see the emergence of alternative medicine working hand in hand with scientific medical practice, including stress management classes which focus on relaxation techniques like yoga and focused meditation.
For those of us who practice meditation, sometimes that stress can insinuate itself into our efforts even to sit still and focus. Just as we have had to learn how to manage our external physical and mental stress, some of us need to remember to give ourselves a break on that too. Some days our focus or concentration may not be as good as others, including meditation, especially when we are having trouble balancing our physical and mental stress. Just as we are trying to learn not to be too hard on ourselves externally, we need to remember to give ourselves a break during meditation as well. One day we may be restless and unable to focus, but the next day we may find we need a lot less effort to focus and reach that state of peace within ourselves.
Next time you take time to de-stress, whether with meditation or yoga, or a combination of the two, remember to allow yourself to just be as you are, even if you feel too restless at the outset to sit still or concentrate. Approaching meditation without expectations, especially of yourself, will allow you to just go with whatever happens, and you might be surprised to find how much better you feel, just feeling OK with each moment as it happens.