Comparing Mind works 24/365. It's like Santa Claus that way -- it knows when you're sleeping and seeds your dreams with fears of falling short (showing up on stage naked or not knowing your lines or how to open the door); it knows when you're awake. It knows if you've been bad or good -- and whether you've been badder or better than the person at the next desk or on the next yoga mat or the next meditation cushion.
But it goes into overdrive in summer. Not many people can go to the beach without pulling out the mental tape measure -- that person's bigger/smaller/about my size. I'd look better in that/I could never wear that/why would anyone wear that. Too tan/not tan enough/ouch pink. Ocean beach/lake beach/private pool/public pool.
We're a competitive breed. And an insecure one. The Buddha's First Noble Truth, dukkha, says that we suffer because we always suspect that there's a better now somewhere, if we could just find it. Dukkha literally refers to a wheel that doesn't fit right on the axle -- think of a shopping cart with a wonky wheel and how you have to fight to keep it from crashing into a tower of cracker boxes.
And as we wheel along we constantly check to see how we're doing in comparison to everyone else as if it's a run for the roses. But we can't stop and smell the roses because the next race looms.
Unless we realize that we can. Stop. Smell. Roses.
What does that smell like? Does it remind you of something? Of someone? Of sometime? What does it bring to mind? To heart?
And what does a rose look like, really look like, if you're not counting how many other roses are in the bouquet and whether the dancer down the line at the recital had more in her bouquet, or wishing that they were yellow instead of pink or a better shade of pink or had more buds and fewer flowers?
Feel it. The petals are soft like moss like velvet like fine sand. And the thorns are hard like razors. Such contrast. Such metaphorical possibilities.
The mind that can be with a rose, just one rose, and be dazzled by its appearance and contradictions, is the mind that can go to be beach and be with one body -- the one that carries it around -- seeing the other bodies for what they are without letting Comparing Mind take over and make Awareness Mind feel fat or out of shape (or fit and superior).
ctworkingmoms.coms Goddess Gallery -- photos of real women's post-pregnancy stomachs. They got tired of photos of celebrities who bounced right back to pre-pregnancy shape seemingly within days. They took photos of themselves in yoga pants and sports bras and put it on the Internet for everyone to see -- and compare to themselves.