Fundamental Ground

I have been pondering this quote by Pema Chodron all week. My yoga teacher read this at the beginning of class last Tuesday morning and I have been ruminating about it all week.

“It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.”

The fundamental restlessness is what I call the “human condition”. We are all familiar with it to some degree or another. It is that inner angst, that nagging something that lives in the background.  It is what scares us when things get quiet. It is what causes us to get really busy. We don’t like the way it feels. What compounds it is that we don’t know what it is, we don’t understand it, and we judge the fact that it is there. We think that we should not be feeling this way.

It exists in all of us. It arises from the idea that we are alone – that we separate from one another and from our world.

What we don’t realize is the fundamental spaciousness that Pema Chodron speaks of is benevolent. It is a space where all is well. Where the fundamental restlessness is held without judgment – no pushing away or pulling toward. Where all is welcome – the comfortable and the uncomfortable.

How and where your place your attention can affect how you experience restlessness and spaciousness. When we turn and face the restlessness with compassion, restlessness begins to dissolve.

I invite you to simply pause right now (and many times throughout your day). Get quiet. If the fundamental restlessness arises, then hold it gently, the way you might hold a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. Meet it with a sense of softness, compassion and curiosity. Notice what happens. Repeat until this gentle holding becomes your new way of being with your Self.

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Regina Callahan


PO Box 1566

Bend, OR 97709 

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