Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Filtering

Mind, Body and Spirit


Trish in Dancer Pose. | Photo by Laurie Kasperbauer

“We can learn a primary lesson from the smallest cell in our body, and particularly from the skill of the cell wall. The cell wall’s job is knowing what to let in and what to keep out.” ~ Leslie Kaminoff

I love lemon water. I love lemon water so much that it would be more accurate to say that I love lemon juice with a little water mixed in. I drink it all day long over ice in my Tervis tumbler. I take it with me on appointments, I take it to the beach for yoga classes, and I take it to the grocery store when I go to buy more lemons. I would be embarrassed to admit how many lemons I squeeze a week but I think the local markets probably notice when I’m out of town. The produce managers might even scratch their heads as they contemplate their hill of yellow citrus that has remained mounded all week. All they have to do is ask one of the clerks at the check out what’s going on. The cashiers would say, “oh yeah, the lady with the pony tail and yoga pants hasn’t been in for a while.”

Anyway, I have this handy little citrus squeezer that smashes half a lemon at a time. The juice runs out through the slits in the squeezer and I capture it in a short, glass pitcher. The only thing about the citrus squeezer is that it allows the lemon pulp, and sometimes the small seeds, to also find their way into the pitcher, and from there, into my Tervis tumbler. It’s not really a big deal. Once in a while I’m surprised when a lemon seed slides down my throat, or the sticky pulp gets caught on my lip, but recently I purchased a mesh, metal strainer that I pour the lemon juice through. It traps the pulp and the seeds and only allows the pure, tart liquid into my cup. Exactly how I want it. The good stuff goes in. The debris stays out. What a concept.

Have you ever had a bug fly up your nose? Nobody wants a bug in their nose. Unless you’re an anteater. Your nose doesn’t want to house a wayward gnat either, so you sneeze. It’s involuntary, but necessary, and instant relief. In a matter of seconds, your body determined that the gnat is not a benefit to your olfactory organs and forcefully blasts it free. Effectively filtered. Your lungs do it. Your skin does it. Your kidneys and liver are very efficient at it. The natural filtering ability of our bodies is incredible and we mostly take it for granted. Coughs and sneezes and being sick to our stomach, are just a few of the ways that our intelligent bodies “clean house.” But what about our mind? Who’s standing at the gate of consciousness questioning the validity or truth or importance of what is allowed inside?

Radio host and author Dr. Laura Schlessinger once said, “A bird can land on my head, but I don’t have to let it nest there.” Her point was that our mind is constantly entertaining thoughts. It’s an open landing field for every sensory nugget we encounter. What we see, hear, smell, taste, read, dream, observe, witness, and repeat flitters around the bright light that is our mind, but what we allow to land in our orbit should be carefully vetted. Filtered for purity and truthfulness; censored for usefulness.

People who are new to yoga often talk about its benefits in terms of flexibility and balance which are, without question, enhanced through regular practice, but for me, the greatest gift I receive from yoga, lands in the space between my ears and pops the bubbles of negative thought and judgement. The remnants of “can’t” and “don’t” and “shouldn’t” or “should” become mind dust, losing strength and validity. Meditation, is the best “filter” for what is allowed to occupy my mind because meditation is time spent releasing the sediment of chaotic thought and opening the door to peace. Meditation doesn’t mean sitting in Lotus pose, with closed eyes and incense burning (unless of course, that’s how you like to meditate). Meditation is available always. You can meditate on a walk, or while you eat. You can meditate for 60 seconds or three days straight. Your eyes can be open, your dog might be licking your arm and your husband could be looking at you with cautious curiosity (yes, it happened) but you’re still meditating. Because in this moment, and for as long as you choose, you are paying attention to the space between your ears. Your thoughts are observed, one by one as they flicker toward your light, but you are the gatekeeper of what will be absorbed into your orbit. You are the filter that determines your peace.

Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.

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