This post is formatted to reflect an original journal entry.
An earl grey morning. Sipping coffee in bed. Lazy, cool jazz in the speakers and all around me autumn falls in silence. There is a book by my side. Lin Yutang’s The Importance of Living (a special thank you to Lynne from Head to Head, Heart to Heart for the reading recommendation), which I am, at present, devouring. A book that makes my soul smile. Still haven’t quite achieved the mental clarity to move forward with new blog post, “On Sensual Living III.” (A long time has passed since Parts I and II.) I sometimes need to remind myself that it’s far less valuable to me to repeat/critique/intellectualize concepts to which I’m introduced in my readings and far more important to engage with them holistically. Gauge my intuitive reactions. Articulate my feelings and life experiences in relation to those ideas. Or in spite of them. But I’m not going to push myself. Today will be a slow yet productive day. And tomorrow, I will head to the mountains. Rain or shine.
Noticing significant differences in myself lately. Calmer. More content and accepting. As if a part of my mind has loosened its controls. I attribute these changes to a deepening of my yoga practice. Over the past month or so, I’ve been practicing more consistently and with greater focus. Daily or almost daily. And without regard for physical fitness. But for its own sake. The spiritual benefits that, I imagine, are inevitable for anyone who engages in such practice with full intention, open heart and mind. Problems, anxieties, wants are all further removed, become somehow less personal. What do I mean by less personal? Not all-consuming. Not all of me. Not to be mastered, punished, condemned, nor overcome. But aspects of self and reality I can look on as if from another vantage point. And simply are.
I am struck by a sudden thought: A free mind is capable of fully experiencing the pleasures of everyday life. A free mind is inherently creative. Eager to transform the lackluster and mundane, the I-don’t-want-it-to-be-this-way’s into rituals of sensual enjoyment. The ethos of sensual living. And also, I am realizing, how we create presence. Refrain from wishing the moments of our lives away by focusing on what could be or what was. Instead of finding the magic in what is. Embracing the many seasons of our lives rather than imposing our will on them. Attempting to dominate them. Sensual living is not built on the illusion of mastery but on the art of self-regulation. The latter of which is never adversarial.
And makes for a much quieter mind. A much easier way. Without judging thoughts/feelings/experiences of self as good or bad, right or wrong. But acknowledging simply that the judging voice is there. And is part of me but not the totality of self. Only then am I able to listen to my internal voice, the one that, in many ways, already seems to know how to live. To do good by self and others, with the confidence to proceed intelligently in the direction my heart’s desires, which becomes close to effortless. And only then am I free to fully and soulfully experience the sensual pleasures that make life worth living. But I am afraid I must stop here. It seems my next blog post has begun writing itself.
Another Thank You
…to everyone who has purchased a copy of my new chapbook, Seven Road & Other Poems. I very much appreciate your support!