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How to Stop Reliving the Past

“Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way!” Sarah Young

Avoidance of pain is one obstacle to spiritual freedom. Naturally, we do everything we can to avoid pain—or our sanity could rightly be called into question! But when this avoidance overwhelms our willingness to experience life (we’re scared to enter a new relationship based on our baggage), then we limit our potential for happiness by obstructing our view of the truth. The film, “What the Bleep Do We Know” explores this concept of living our life on autopilot.

To avoid this numbing out in relationships, start practicing present moment awareness on your mat.

If we come to the mat with a dull mind, absently through the motions of Cat-Cow or our first sun salutations, we close ourselves off from realizations and moments of awakening. Familiarity with a simple pose gives us the freedom to explore what lies beyond the postural mechanics. It's not an invitation to check out. Once your alignment and balance are steady, notice the texture of the mat on your skin, the movement of the breath through your throat, the transition between inhale and exhale. Hone your subtle awareness in yoga asanain preparation for mindfulness in daily life.

Exercise: Select a typical action in your day and try employing “the beginner’s mind.” Brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or making the bed are excellent opportunities to practice mindfulness. Feel the bristles of the brush on your teeth, note the minty taste of your toothpaste, feel the water swishing around the roof of your mouth. Be present. And notice how the experience of “tooth brushing” changes. If that mechanical chore can be made interesting, how about conversations with your spouse? Petting the dog? Driving to work? All around you are opportunities to wake up and be enlivened by this thing we call Life.

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