By Annie Benjamin
In his amazing book A PATH WITH HEART Jack Kornfield says “…inactivity is not laziness.” So simple but really so profound. I have spent most of my life believing that motion meant productivity. It was important to be a “go-getter”, cramming a day full with work, friends, fitness and lots and lots of to do lists. I grew up believing that if something bothered you, you were meant to solve it instantly not sit with the feelings and try to get behind them and find their source.
When I first started my new redefined retirement my first instinct was to DO things: go to museums, have long lunches with friends, take yoga when I wanted to, walk aimlessly in the neighborhood and window shop, spend afternoons cooking. NONE of these activities were a mistake but they made me feel oddly unfulfilled. It wasn’t until I let myself slow down and contemplate my life, really sit and let things come up that I began to feel I was on the right track. I think we are conditioned to blame things on our personalities: To chalk things up to the belief that we are just this way and that’s that. I understand now that this only buries our obstacles to being happy more deeply.
Samantha Keen who helps run VITALSWITCH, a wonderful organization that teaches a form of meditation called Clairvision sums it up, ”…meditation… helps people get to the source of the reason they are stuck. My experience is that when you actually see the real source of an emotional blockage or a stuck belief system then you can make a real choice to step outside of that patterning.”
This is not to say that the choice is always a simple one. I still have trouble sitting and letting things just come to me and not try to grab them and make them go away. This grabbing turns into self judgment and anger and neither of these feelings can lead to happiness and inner peace. Jack Kornfield writes “Have we let ourselves love the people around us, our family, our community, the earth upon which we live? And did we also learn to let go? Did we learn to live through the changes with grace, wisdom and compassion? Have we learned to forgive and live from the spirit of the heart instead of the spirit of judgment?”
This is definitely something I am working towards… living from the inside out instead of from the outside in. I am active in my inactivity!
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About the Author: Ann Benjamin is a 30 year veteran of ABC NEWS where she was the director for programs such as World News, Nightline, 20/20, and major special events. In the fall of 2010 she followed her heart and left that world to pursue her dream of teaching yoga. In July 2011 she was certified by Laughing Lotus NYC. She now divides her time between her passion for yoga and those media projects which she finds interesting and rewarding. Check out her website at www.inlightyoganyc.com.