Have you ever put cayenne pepper on a banana?

Last night in yoga class the instructor had us take a minute at the end to sit in thoughtless silence before returning to our day and obligations. AKA a minute of that thing I can’t do.

It’s something a lot of yoga instructors will have you do, but the way she worded it really resonated with me. “Take a moment before returning to your obligations.” As if everyone else left them in the car while I accidentally brought mine in and spent half the class thinking about how I’m going to cook my Brussels sprouts for dinner and how long it will take me to finish the article I have to write when I get home. Then it dawned on me that I can leave mine behind too, because technically I have all the power over my thoughts and can dismiss them if they are not serving me a valuable purpose at that moment.

Like, how easy yet insanely difficult is that concept to grasp. You mean I don’t have to begrudgingly accept that my brain is spending this minute of sitting in silence in this class thinking about what kind of veggie I’m going to pick up for dinner, or whether I’ll need to get gas on the way home, or whether I should go find and rescue the cat crying outside my building every night? I don’t HAVE to accept that my mind is wandering to the point where I’m wondering what it would taste like if I sprinkled cayenne pepper on a banana?

You mean I can just sit here and not think about my balls (typo, meant to say bills, leavin’ it), or what water tastes like, or the coconut oil residue I didn’t properly rinse out of my hair from my treatment this morning? I can just stop thinking about it for a minute and it won’t affect the outcome of any of these situations at all? Seriously? I can do this whenever I want? Is this my brain on drugs?

It was interesting to realize that I don’t have to just deal with whatever my brain is doing, and I’m sure nothing new to many people. But as someone whose brain grinds to the point where I get anxious and can’t breathe properly and start yawning profusely and then everyone thinks I’m rude and bored, it was a good moment of clarity to realize that I am more powerful than my thoughts and I can kick them out at any moment if they are counterproductive to my current state. I just have to choose to do that.

So that’s what happened in last night’s moment of yoga silence.

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About the Author: Becky