Good In the Middle

28-Day Meditation Challenge ~ Day 14
Saturday, February 14, 2015

28 Day Challenge aspen leaf pub dom

For two months, I’ve been creating a new routine called No Words ~ all instrumental music, taught in silence. For a word-centered, lyric-loving, chatty-Cathy like me, it is a creative edge. Last night I taught it for the first time.

This morning, as I “meditated”, my mind obsessively analyzed and chewed on every part of the class. I could have been simpler, more impeccable. I could have set it up more clearly. I should have taught it differently and it would have been better. In the pit of my heart sat the dull ache of disappointment.

My writer friend, Whitney (aka The Coconut Girl), reminds me that any work of art, however flawed, that is brought out into the world is infinitely superior to perfect art that remains in our heads. Without question, Seth Godin would agree that we have to take the vulnerable step out and share our work. (One of my favorite Godin quotes is, “This may not work.”)

Even so, the gap between my vision and its execution yawns wide.

All of which reminds me of the Three Noble Principles. Pema Chödrön describes them as moving through any practice or work focusing on “good in the beginning, good in the middle and good at the end.”

In regards to the No Words routine, I certainly started with “good in the beginning.” I began with an aspiration to create a fun, meditative, movement experience focused on the mover, undistracted by lyrics in the music or teacher shenanigans. My intention was for No Words to lead to happiness and reduce suffering.

First of the Three Noble Principles? Check.

The second principle, the “good in the middle” part maaaay be where I went astray. Pema describes this as proceeding through an endeavor with openness and, as best we can, without grasping. Oh, see? There’s the rub. I really, really wanted the routine to turn out just like I envisioned it. I was attached to the outcome. Yes, I was.

This is the paradox of practice: to set a clear, pure intent that I care deeply about, then proceed without attachment to what actually happens. When I am grasping for things to go certain way, for me to be a certain way, for others to feel a certain way, I have dropped the proverbial ball of the Second Noble Principle. Plus, the next morning I’m obsessing on my cushion feeling poopie.

Right here, smack dab in the middle of the challenge is a good place to focus on “good in the middle.”

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May all beings be happy ♡