Day 13: Let Go of Unproductive Thought Patterns...on the Yoga 30-day Journey to Enlightenment

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Your self image is your pattern. Every thought has an activity visualized. Every activity belongs to a pattern. You identify with your pattern or thought. Your patterns lead your life.
- J. G. Gallimore quotes
Day 13 Activities:
1) Mantra meditation
2) Minimum 30 minutes of calorie burning
3) Write down everything you eat and sketch your Balance Chart
4) Continue to remain aware of your speech patterns
5) New: Tell your stories to a rock

This morning, a piece of music came up on my Itunes shuffle that I hadn't heard for a while - it was Door #1 Energy from Toby Christensen's Four Doors Open.

I met Toby last April when he hosted a yoga retreat at our yoga center on St. John.

Toby is a drummer - not just a drummer - a healing drummer. Toby travels the world healing people through his drumming. He makes music that penetrates all the shells and bubbles we put up around ourselves. His music goes straight to where we need healing. I know this first hand because he did a healing session with me that allowed me to let go of some fears I'd been clinging to for years. I don't understand how it worked but, it did. And I am grateful.

Listening to his CD's, while not the same as experiencing his drumming live is still a cleansing experience for me.
So what does this have to do with letting go of our unproductive thought patterns (samskaras)?

Toby passed along a tradition that he'd learned from an African tribe that resonated with me. I've since shared this tradition with every yoga retreat group that I lead.
It's simple. It's powerful. It is a way to let go of (not repress) the ruminations that clutter our thinking.
Think of a story or a recurring thought pattern that you repeat to yourself over and over again - but that is not productive (e.g. "I'm fat", "I'm not good enough to be a writer", "I can never quite my job and become a musician", "It's my fault my children have issues", "I'm the only one that can fix this problem", "I get migraines", "I'm unflexible"....) It can be profound, it can be a minor nuisance.

Often when we recite a though out loud or to ourselves, it becomes our reality and starts to define our "self". This can be destructive and energy-draining when we cycle through unproductive though sequences.

Find a rock. Any rock will do.

Tell the rock your story. Describe your thought patterns and ruminations in your own words...all the pieces that you're holding on to...shame, guilt, self-loathing...just let out because it's the last time you'll tell the story. You need not analyze all the reasons WHY you have this pattern, just acknowledge and describe the thought pattern and give it to the ROCK. (Optional: spit on the rock to seal it...this really is part of the tradition)

When you want to let go of the story, bury the rock.

I love this ritual because it is so TANGIBLE. Most meditation is all in our heads - but I find this a particularly useful tool for the big, ugly stuff that I can't seem to purge with my mind alone.


Craig Hitchens said...

Fantastic method! Very useful and tangible way to get rid of the junk!
Much appreciated and thanks for the tips!

Craig Hitchens

Narayani said...

Thank you for this.

Very interesting. Is this something to be done in private or something the group do together?

I like the sound of this technique. That said, I have a small niggle about this idea in that I wonder if the rock might then represent the burial of the problem in one's pyche rather than transforming it or releasing it.

Your further thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Thank you.


Lauren said...

I like this a lot! But I think I'd like to toss the rock rather than bury it. (although in my imagination I'm great at throwing things. Not so much in the real world)

Florian said...

Go for it, Lauren and throw the rock!!!