Imagine yourself resting beside the river. You lay atop a blanket, your body relaxed. The sun dapples through the trees, a gentle breeze cools your skin. You embody this moment and feel present, awake. Your breath expands and contracts, fills up and releases. Your mind is anchored to your breath, like the rhythm to its sound.
You look out to the river and notice the calmness of the water, and the way the sun reflects off its stillness. You see your happiness in the water. Your breath still calm, your mind still buoyed by the breath.
In a blink, the flow of the river changes, like some wind had formed underneath its surface. Ripples and small currents reveal itself and you hear the lap of water against rock. You see your anxiety in the water, as your breath doesn’t change, as your mind doesn’t dive in.
The flow of the river picks up, the ripples turn into rapids, lashing out at the unmoving rocks on the shore. You see your anger in the water. Yet your body is relaxed, your breath still long and deep.
And so the meditation continues, as each emotion shows itself in the water, and as your body rests beside it. You don’t jump into the happiness or the anger. You’re beside it, observing the emotions without standing up and diving in and drowning in its current.
For me, that is the un-clinging, the detachment as taught in yoga. When I imagine myself beside the river of my emotions, there is space. I don’t dive into the river and react, flailing my body around without any sense of control. There is no stopping the winds, the currents, the stillness and calm, but you can choose to lay still beside it, one breath at a time.
For Ana and Emma, I dove into the river to get their stories and emotions. I am almost finished with “Inside the River,” and then I will rest beside their water and detach myself from the emotions that will display itself in the flow.
I would love to hear about your favorite meditation, mantra, or affirmation that helps you stay close to your best self.