inner critic

tai chi really socked it to me today, showing me how caught up i still am with the whip and the inner critic. stuff i have been actively working on unplugging day in and day out and here is a place it has largely ruled the roost right under my nose.

The radical notion that all is well really goes against everything i used to live for – the need to prove and validate my self and my opinions, to line up on the “right” side of the line, to resist that which would hold me back. All being well eliminates the need for all of that jazz. all of the stories, all of the attachments… poof!… all is well. let me sit and bask in that. if only for a moment

basking in the sensation of all being well even just for a single intentional breath – a deep breath in and out with the accompanying thought ‘all is well’ – is a game-changer.

these 30 prompts or cues… the idea is to cue that intentional breath at least once per day. And if the prompt actually sticks, it will probably add two or three cues for breath throughout a normal day. then if a couple of key cues get integrated, you find yourself taking excellent moments of connection 20+ times per day. Effortlessly. Because you’ve got these microhabits. Intentional ones born of experience and intention. Get good at it and you have  lovely path to ‘prayer without ceasing.’ Connection consistently throughout the day. High aspiration.

I believe my most effective path to deep, peaceful stillness has come from these micro habits. I didn’t really like sitting down to meditate for a half an hour twice per day. adopting that only came when I really was going to be sitting there still anyway (else activate pain). Anyhow, the technique of mini-loading my day (too small to fail) starting getting me to experience deep conscious breaths upon certain cues. Those moments, those simple breaths, became so delicious i started looking for more cues. and started sitting just to bask in a group of breaths at a time and from that sprouted a practice that absolutely adores days i get 2 half an hour practices in, but doesn’t beat myself up about it when I don’t.

But i know meditation brings out the inner critic in most people the way tai chi is bringing it out in me (and hopefully kicking it out for good, which i believe tai chi absolutely capable of doing). Seeing this is helping me realize how little inner critic remains in my meditative life – a place that also used to be a stronghold. But that all changed with Eric and Devi Klein of Wisdom Heart really getting the point across that:

  1. all meditation is good meditation. sitting counts 100%, even if you’re jumpy & distracted. its a practice not a perfect
  2. Getting distracted is not failure. it’s a cue to bring yourself back. you’re building a muscle. ‘where do i go when i get distracted?’ right back to the breath. it’s a good habit, and one that i absolutely want to cultivate.
  3. sitting for sitting’s sake. detachment from the need/expectation  of a certain experience. practice & nonattachment.


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