The Solace of a Well-Nourished Practice

Yesterday, while I was having a whole battery of shots needled into my gums and the roof of my mouth, I wondered this: What do people in these kind of situations do if they don’t have a practice?

My periodontist is pretty cool. As he was shooting me up, he led me into a little guided relaxation, (which I didn’t need) but which was, nevertheless, very sweet and thoughtful of him.  This procedure apparently freaks the hell out of a lot of people, and he just assumed that I was going to freak out, too.

But I had already led myself into a very calm state on my drive to his office.  I can get myself into these states very easily now, and I’ll tell you, it’s a source of amazement and great joy. Granted, it’s taken me years of practice, but I have it down cold now.  I don’t dissociate with what’s going on, and I don’t “zone out” or go to a “happy place.” Rather, I stay with exactly what’s happening, and simply let it be, and  breathe into it without making up a story about it.

Yesterday, while I had the roots of my teeth scaled, I heard sounds, I did a lot of  spitting, and there was some wonderful light streaming into the room. The event had a certain duration, and then it was over.  I drove home in the same state I drove there, the only difference was I couldn’t feel the left side of my face.

I know everybody comes to a yoga practice for a different reason: stress reduction for some, more flexibility and balance for others, the hope for some toning and weight reduction for still another subset of practitioners.

Lots of people dabble in yoga and meditation, doing it for a while, then letting it go and moving to some other exercise modality. Sometimes they return and sometimes they don’t.

And that’s fine.  But yesterday I really wondered: what do they do?  What do they rely on when they have to encounter something uncomfortable and hard?  Something that hurts or causes an extended period of angst and turmoil?

What do they do if they don’t have a well-nurtured practice to fall back on in these times?

It must be pure hell.