Volley With Breath

Last weekend as this Anglophile watched the Wimbledon finals, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized as the ball went back and forth, back and forth until talent or miscalculation broke the rhythm. The players stamina and force was impressive; their relenting almost unperceived. We, like the star athletes of the court, volley as well. Often it is not just the tennis balls, but words between friends and foes. Words of debate and discussion. Sometimes those volleys happen inside our own heads. We bat back and forth thoughts and worries, concerns and contemplations which can alter our confidence and cause us to falter.

In yoga, we often refer to this swinging back and forth as the Monkey Mind. Imagining our thoughts swinging like a monkey from branch to branch. We can let those thoughts swing with out pause or we can consider how our thoughts can benefit us better.

Some students often think that the meditative mind is the empty mind. I tend to disagree. Our minds can never be fully empty but they can be more fully focused. It is the difference between getting lost in thought and letting go of thoughts which do not serve our life.

As deliberate and engaging as it is to watch the tennis ball volley back and forth, consider another volley when focusing the mind. The volley of inhaling and exhaling. Breathing in calmness, exhaling peacefulness. From there are minds do not empty, they engage and guide us—reassure us that even in the midst of life’s challenges we can prevail.

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