The spirit of competition can only take us so far until the ego takes over and we become caught in the repetitive cycle of attachment and craving. Like a snake eating it’s own tail, our drives devour us, until we can engage with the world for the sheer moment-to-moment pleasure of it.
I am a self proclaimed recovering perfectionist. The other day, I noticed each breath had become an avoidance of the moment as I struggled to make it sound perfect and “look” perfect. For what? For approval of the people around me? “Wow, she’s a really good breather.” Ridiculous. One might as well be a good investor or chess player. In that moment, if I were to keep practicing, there was a choice.
a) Struggle on. Move forward.
b) Forgo it all and feel everything.
Sick of option “a”, I let it all go and felt everything. Breath reaching into my pelvis and into my back. Breath catching behind my heart. Welling up of intensity behind my eyes as my heart tried to expand. Release back down into my hips. Waves of pleasure and pain moving up and down and back and forth. Almost erotic but not quite— Walking the line between eros and agape, my attention suspended between these two points.
My attention suspended. Nirodhah.
Nirodha, cessation, explained by James Traverse on the Non-Duality Blog
“nirodha is the silence that is always available and is when fragmentation has ceased; it is authentic silence that includes and transcends the silence that is mentally understood via ‘chitta’ and ‘vritti’ without self-contradiction; this is silence that like Om, music, song and dance includes sound and motion without breaking silence (it is the peace beyond understanding as the spiritual heart that is the homeground of being… it expresses itself – it is breathing as it flows as spirit~heart~mind~body [it branches or 'waves' and its branches branch] and it flowers as body~mind~heart~spirit).”
And a more analytical look at nirodha from the American Sanskrit Institute here.