People talk about their goals: to be successful, to be healthy, to be kind, to be wise, to be at peace. We strive for it, but somehow, we don’t ever get there. Are we going about it wrong? In this post, I will talk about the secret. Sometimes, we are not starting from the right spot.
The Original Posture – Meerkat
In our practice, the very first practice is the original posture, which we call meerkat. We call it that because, well, it looks like one! The purpose of meerkat practice is to reach acceptance of the present state.
We have the ability to chart a path from point A to point B, provided that we know and utilize the knowledge about point A and point B. The second part of that, the utilizing, is where people sometimes go astray. This is because we reject some aspects of the present point A.
If you wish to know how to get to the grocery store, I can tell you. Turn right here, turn left there, go straight on the next stop, and it’ll be on your right. That would work, if you were starting from where I’m standing.
Oh but you are starting from your house? Okay, then turn left, turn right again, go straight, and you’ll be there.
But what if you followed my directions and you didn’t get there? Maybe we are mistaken about your starting address. We are utilizing the wrong starting address for point A.
We are not lost, we are in denial
If you are here, you are probably striving for something, as we said earlier. Health, success, peace perhaps. That may also mean that you are not entirely satisfied with how things are now. That’s perfectly fine. We accept the present but we are not stopping here at point A. We are not aiming for a life without desire, a journey without goals. Life should be lived fully and freely.
But, sometimes, one is trapped between not being entirely happy with how things are now, but also not yet able to take the steps to change things. In that state, sometimes we come to a state of denial. Oh, things are okay, not so bad. Oh, I can change this anytime. I will change it tomorrow. Oh things will be better as soon as I get my next paycheck / vacation / new toy / more time / new diet.
Any of these things could be true. But the truth is simply how things are right now. And the truth is just that and not anything else. You are here, reading this blog. You are not reading another blog. You can, in the next moment, click away and read something else. But right now, you are looking at this, with whatever device you’re using, in whatever posture you’re in. Could you be sitting better? Perhaps. Don’t worry though. It is exactly as it is right now and not anything else.
In meerkat, we practice acceptance of the present state. Without judgement. Without discrimination. There is no doing it right or doing it wrong. You are just doing and it is what it is, nothing more and nothing less. Once you accept this, you let go of what you want it to be, you let go of what got you to this state, you don’t worry about what it could become. You are rooted to the present, with full acceptance of it.
Now you know exactly what point A is. No delusion, no denial, no shame, no judgement. Just point A in its entirety, not just almost point A except for this little part that we don’t like. Accept the entire point A. And with that, we can plot the true and successful course to point B.
It is said that “acceptance is the first step”. Actually, acceptance is the starting point. Knowing this, let’s stand ready at the starting line.
Forgiving the past
I want to talk briefly about the past. Sometimes we are unable to live in the present, because of a shame or regret or anger about the past. But the past cannot be changed, and neither can the present, and we are only here in the present.
Getting over the past is not necessarily easy. For now, I just want to say that in order for us to get from point A to B, we simply need to know, accept, and utilize the reality of point A. It doesn’t matter if before you got to point A, you were at work, or school, or the post office. It doesn’t matter if you drove fast, or slow, or crashed. Whatever the history, you are here at point A, and knowing point A, we can get to point B.
The denial of the present contributes to the subtle resentment that prevents one from forgiving their past. Once you accept the present, it is easier to forgive the past.
Free your full capacity for the present
People often notice that after practicing meerkat posture, their flexibility, comfort, and strength all improve immediately. That’s because once you accept your present state, your full ability is available for you at this moment. No longer are your muscles holding a tension for some past concern or holding a tension anticipating some future trouble. Your body lives in the now, utilizing its capacity for the present.
In summary, meerkat is the practice of accepting & being present to your current physical state. Do it without judgement or discrimination and you will surely improve! With acceptance comes improved capacity to use your current physical self. With increased integration of your physical self will come increased mental strength and fortitude. Wherever your point B is, you will be more ready to start your journey to get there.
Enjoy your practice! It is not necessarily difficult, but it is subtle and sometimes missed. Share your experience in the comments below.