|Photo credit: Judy Stone-Goldman|
It must be because we are weeks away from the darkest day of the year, but both my kids are wrestling with their inner darkness. They have taken on a grumpier, scared-er version of themselves lately. Growing up in Canada, I know all to well the affects of spending too much time in darkness.
One night I was particularly beat, and after my son approached me for the third time after bed, this time about being scared of attacking zombies, (though I might add, he seemed genuinely okay, and more like he was stalling) I responded in humor, "well zombies are not real and I can assure you that they won't harm you in any way. I can also assure you that if your dad and I don't get a bit of child-free time that we WILL turn into zombies and come looking for you."
The next night though, I could tell he was really scared and we had a lovely bedtime talk. This one about the mind and fears. A subject us yogis and mediators love to analyze and explore in order to grow and find peace and truth. And a subject I was so happy to talk about now that my son's a little older.
I distinctly remember the time when I was an adult and I heard this simple message, and took it to my core. Similarly I felt the bubble burst when my son got it too.
You are not your mind.
Nope. You control the mind and use it as a tool. But you are not your mind.
But I am my mind! It is everything I am, he says, shocked.
Your mind likes you to think it is ALL and it is in control. But its not. You have the power to turn it on and off. Sometimes that means to stop listening to your mind even if its still running its mouth.
How do I do that, he asks.
It takes practices for most people, I say. But learning to listen to your breath, meditating. Or it could be doing things that bring all your attention to your body, like yoga or the body-centered meditation we do at night.
I lead him through a nice body-centering meditation and he was then at peace and able to transition to sleep by himself.
That little shift in perspective is sometimes all we need to help us grow or help us find true peace. In this case, stepping a little bit away from the ocean of oscillating thoughts, helps us to calm the innermost self. The more you practice the bigger that "step away" becomes. That is how yoga, or meditation, or any mindful-based practice helps.
As the nights grow long, I hope your little ones find peace this Holiday Season. May all beings in all directions find inner peace.
The Domestic Yogi