I recently started listening to a wonderful audible book by Pema Chodron called “Coming Closer to Ourselves: Making Everything the Path of Awakening”. She talks about how meditation isn’t meant to “fix” your life, but to embrace it, including all of the psychoses, craziness and drama. It struck a chord in me, because I very often want my life “fixed”. I want to come out of my meditations and be a better person — calm, reasonable, social, trusting — I want to see myself come out of my self-absorbed shell. But I think what she’s saying is that the attitude of wanting to see this sort of change is missing the point — that the point is to see and accept the shell and the self-absorption and the introversion. She says that the more you sit and meditate, the deeper and more intimate you become with yourself and the greater your ability to embrace and accept things just the way they are. I paraphrase her lecture, and I hope I’m understanding it correctly.
Anyway, I mention this because I’ve been struggling lately with a problem with my iliotibial band. One of the downfalls of my current exercise routine is that there is no stretching anywhere. As a result, I think my iliotibial band has knotted up, causing a pain in my knee. My wonderful chiropractor diagnosed it, and I’ve been doing stretching and working out of the knots in that leg to try to overcome it.
Sensei gave me some stretching resources, and I’ve been doing the routines from what he gave me. The stretching routine is interesting because it stretches my leg in every direction, allowing me to observe just what the problem areas are. For instance, last night while doing one of the stretches where you lay on your side with your legs stacked, I noticed amazing painful knots on my thighs. I thought I’d been rolling the Stick on my knots and working them out, but it turns out lying on my side targets the exact spots, which are a bit further back than where I’d been rolling. And rolling back and forth over the floor works them far better than the Stick does.
If I hadn’t had my chiropractor and Sensei help me, I would have thought my problem was a knee issue and that my quads needed more strengthening. I never would have looked at the knots in my thighs. Having them help me look at my leg from every angle helped me isolate what exactly has been causing the knee pain.
Is this what meditation is? Looking at my life from every single angle — inspecting it, analyzing it with a sense of objectivity, and maybe instead of trying to fix the symptoms, developing the skills to identify where the knots are?