Finding Neutral Ground
If you've been in class with me this week, you've heard me say it:
What would it look like to find neutral space?
These past few weeks I've been observing the chatter of my mind and seeing how it has something to say about, well... everything! I judge how well or not well I practiced. How good or bad I did at getting work done. How my tone of voice was teaching class or in conversation with a friend. How well or not well I responded to the crazy text message. Our minds are constantly analyzing every move we make. I got to a point, after listening to it, where I found it exhausting. I was either not doing well at something and feeling crappy or doing well at something and feeling elated. I finally asked myself the question,
What is in the middle?
If I'm not in a space of good or a space of bad, where do I land? The answer that arrived? Neutral. Neutral is defined as: "an impartial or unbiased country or person" (noun) or "not helping or supporting either side in a conflict, disagreement" (adj). Neutral means not leaning towards the side of the good or the bad labels the mind tents to put on things. My next question (and you might be asking the same) arrived:
If nothing is good or bad, wouldn't that mean I experience no emotion? Isn't neutral, just, dull?
Naturally, I got curious. I started looking around. I started seeing how I gravitated toward the feelings of joy and happiness and tended to run away from sadness and loss, and not only that, but how I put weight on those experiences based on whether they were "good" or "bad" in my mind.
When I stopped judging my experiences and simply let them be just that.... an experience, I was actually able to experience the moment in front of me more fully.
I was in a tough conversation with my husband the other night. My mind labeled it as bad. I wanted to run away from "bad." Instead, I caught myself and said, "go neutral." In shifting my mind, I was then able to stay in the conversation without the charge around it. The charge had simply come from me putting a judgement on what was happening. With the judgement gone, I could listen to Tim, experience sensation in my body, feel upset, not freak out about it, and instead remain calm. Neutral.
The teacher called chair pose in class. My mind labeled it as "bad." I caught myself. I felt the burn in my thighs and my glutes. I heard my breath. I stayed. It wasn't so "bad." Neutral. Neutral, to me, it not a place of dullness or not caring or having no opinion. It is a wake up call. It is a call to experience the plethora of things happening my life by remaining impartial so I can see what is happening from ALL sides. Coming from a place neutral frees me up to let an experience be that and nothing else. In a world where everyone seems to have an opinion about everything (myself included) it can be challenging to find neutral ground. I also believe it's our calling. Remain impartial and you may discover something about yourself or someone else you couldn't see before. Let neutrality expand your worldview, not shrink it. Notice all the places in your life that you move from the judgement of what the mind has to say. You see a mom with her kid in the grocery store and the kid is screaming his head off "She's not a good mom," you think to yourself. You see an advertisement for essential oils. "Those people are network marketers. They are bad. No thank you." You see one of my posts about teacher training. "I can't teach yoga. I'd be bad at it," you tell yourself. I'm not saying you should say yes to everything or to change your mind. I am saying, look around. Look at what you are choosing to believe because you've always believed it or because the mind labels it a certain way and see if you can have a new looking, from a space of neutral. Coming from neutral this week has made me a better listener. It's also helped me practice more kindness to myself and others. When I listen from neutral, I'm in my body. When I listen from good/bad or right/wrong, I'm in my head.
What could be possible for you if you approached things from neutral ground? What would you sign up for? What would you do that you've been saying no to out of fear? What might you see or hear differently?
Try on the space of neutral this week. See what opens up.