The Hot Tub

I swim most mornings at the community pool and then, if there’s time, reward myself with a soak in the hot tub. It’s a great tub with room for four or five people, the water is really hot, and you can turn the bubbles on or off. My favorite soak is when I’m alone and the water is still. I sit quietly and enjoy the serenity before my day begins.

One recent morning my hot tub equanimity was interrupted when two people got in, turned on the bubbles, and began a loud, agitated conversation.

I thought, “Why don’t they just enjoy the hot tub — the soothing hot water, the relaxation? They’re missing this extraordinary moment.” The noisy conversation took them (and me) away from the opportunity to be in the here and now.

Thinking about it later, I realized I do the same thing. As I go about my daily life, I carry on a continual internal conversation that is often agitated and loud. Some familiar remonstrations:

Do it this way, not like that.”
“That was dumb! What were you thinking?”
“Hurry up, you’ve got to get to that meeting. You’re going to be late.”
“Why did you say THAT?!”

So I’ve started a new practice. When I notice these voices, I stop and find my center — that quiet, soothing place I go to in the hot tub — and I try to remember that I carry it with me all the time. Then I suggest to myself that I sink in and enjoy it.

Don’t wait for the hot tub. Find your center now and sink in.

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