On Meditation and Stillness
Meditation, stillness, prayer, contemplation, solitude, grounding – whatever your way to silence your mind and reconnect to your body and spirit – it all boils down to not only calming your nervous system, but calming your mind and spirit. These “slowing down” practices are your most precious tools in your wellness toolbox… How Often Do You Really Use These Tools?
So much of our wellbeing calls for movement and action. And in today’s world there seems to be an emphasis on going BIGGER and BOLDER in order to thrive in this world. It takes action to make changes, actions to mobilize the body, action to make progress in whatever our goals are.
Movement, motion, action, busy-ness, Big Goals, Life responsibilities, the daily grind, can all intoxicate us and make us think we are either making progress or drowning in overwhelm. If we do not have an anchor or stillness, then we are simply flailing about literally and figuratively.
And YES! Taking action is a vital part in changing our habits
And YES! Taking action is a vital part in changing our habits; but sometimes the greatest actions that enhance the quality of our lives are found in the subtleties of stillness. These are the diamonds in the rough.
Through stillness, meditation, and all the tools listed above, pausing and unplugging from much of our self imposed busy-ness, clear thinking and quality action can spring forth. The more we utilize these tools of stillness, the better we can tune into what’s going on with our body and mind. Our receptivity muscle grows! We may gain clearer sight into what our next steps need to be. Our quality of health can greatly improve, the mental chatter and emotional tornados can simmer down, and our physical aches and pains may also diminish to an extent if not fully.
There are not really any major downsides to making meditation and stillness (prayer, solitude, etc…) a regular practice. Consider such practice of unplugging from daily chaos to be an opportunity to alleviate physical and mental inflammation; and who doesn’t want that!! A regular practice of stillness and meditation of some sort is also a sure chance to re-fuel with life giving energy that will greatly assist you for when you are required or inspired to leap back into pursuing whatever goals and movement that life beckons you to.
HOMEWORK FOR YOU:
For at least 10 minutes: Unplug from electronics, intellect, chattiness, even journaling, doodling, cleaning, etc…
Get yourself into nature, or create a quiet space for yourself with few distractions. Be with YOU and your body and breath.
You can do this while lying down (try to stay awake though… it’s not nap time! 🙂 You can also do this seated and in a position that you feel comfortable enough not to fidget.
For the first couple of minutes, Focus on your breath and at the top of each inhale find a moment of stillness before your exhale. Same goes for that moment before you take your next inhale.
These moments between the breaths are not to be forced or strained, but rather one or two or even four seconds to pause and be in that space of stillness.
If your mind wanders, come back to focusing on your breath in the way you did at the first minute or so. Just be with your breath. If your body feels the need to shift, by all means, let it.
From there, just be. Listen to the silence, the nature around you, and the subtler things that so often go unnoticed. You are receptive, resilient, and revitalizing!
Even in stillness, we can pursue movement. Breath is life, and life is movement.