How to Fix Yourself

There was a time when I idolized Sisyphus — wanted him tattooed onto my skin, even. His willingness to keep pushing on in the face of futility inspired me to keep pushing on in similar circumstances. I romanticized my struggle, nursed it like a precious wound, fantasized about the top of the hill while selectively forgetting the inevitability and devastation of the bottom.

I’m old enough now to look back and see the Sisyphean pattern of my life… to recognize the futile urge to fix myself as the driver of many destructive behavior patterns over the years. Sometimes, I think that urge is what brings me to the meditation cushion in the first place.

Oscillation: To swing back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm; a motion that repeats itself, from one extreme to another, like a sine wave or pendulum.

Lately, when the old urge to fix myself bubbles up, I’ve been trying to not act on it. I’ve been trying to stay put, in half lotus, with breath, sensation, and gentle observation. I’ve been relaxing into a spacious understanding: the urge to fix my flaws is the flaw—the original flaw. The way I want to feel at the top of the hill has got to be the way I feel at the bottom of the hill, and at every point in between these two extremes. If I’m using Anapana as a vehicle to arrive at calmness, I’ve got to calmly observe every breath along the way. If I’m using yoga as a vehicle to arrive at love, I’ve got to feel love at each asana along the way. The destination isn’t somewhere you arrive—it’s something you practice.

Equilibrium: a state or situation in which opposing forces or factors balance each other out and stability is attained; a mental state of calmness and composure.

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About Alex Livingston

I'm smitten with the practice of equanimity, with its epic simplicity and the moments of calm that arrive daily. I'm an avid witness to breath, elated student of folks who don't call themselves teachers, and remember Georgia well.
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