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The Zen of the Barbell......The Bell of Mindfulness
Here's a concept to think about.....the Zen of the barbell.
I write this because the focus you can learn from the practice of lifting the barbell is something so useful in daily life.
It is a practice, learning to be mindful of what you’re doing right now, and not always thinking about what you have to do later. It’s a practice that you get better at with repetition, as with anything. Does my mind never wander — do I have complete focus all the time? Of course not. The practice is learning to be aware of that wandering, learning to return your attention to what you’re doing right now.
Your mind starts to wander from the weights to the work you need to do later. You start thinking of all the things you need to do before your trip, or something you need to do with one of your kids. But if you let yourself stay in this future-thinking, the barbell could hurt you. You could round your back and pull a muscle or drop the weights on your chest or feet. This is a danger that won’t allow you to be elsewhere, and so you come back from the future. You are here, right now, with a weight in your hands that must be pushed, or pulled.
The returning, and the staying with what you're doing right now, is the practice. The awareness. I have gotten better by doing it over and over. In martial arts I practiced this and also Bikram yoga (the hot yoga). I really had no choice but to stay in the moment because if I didn't, I would not be able to have the correct posture or form.
This practice helps with anything you do. For example, as I'm writing this, my mind can get pulled in other directions, but if I’m to write something worthy of your attention, I have to return to the idea and the writing. I have to be aware of the urges to check email or Facebook or the wandering to other things that might (or might not) happen later.
Something to think about......
When you are with one of your children, you can be elsewhere, mentally. The practice helps you to return to them, to be with them only, and the moment becomes instantly better.
It makes the moments you have with your loved ones so much better. Your connection is more complete, more genuine.
It means that when you take a walk, it is an experience of walking and nature, and not a planning session. It means that a shower is a moment of cleansing, purifying, relaxing. It means a meal is an experience of savoring textures, flavors, smells.
Tea becomes a meditation ritual as well. So does a glass of red wine in the evening.
The barbell sits there, inert, not wanting anything, not expecting anything of you. It becomes a simple tool, one that must only be lifted up, against the forces created by a massive Earth, and put back down. A simple tool that is practice for a way of living — a bell of mindfulness.
To your health and happiness,