Sounds so simple. Why can’t it be? Maybe it can be. Maybe we just make it much more complicated than it needs to be.
It might be Spring, but we’re going to talk Winter here. That metaphorical Winter of your soul. Your down time. Your quiet time. Your time to turn within. Let’s go there for just a minute or two. Because that state of mind, that dormancy of the crazy-busy-over-active-high-power-monkey-mind is as natural and necessary as the exhale is to the inhale. Such are seasons, and our need to balance. The time of growth. The time of abundance. The time of letting to. The time of silence and stillness.
The first “activity” I”m going to share is the simplest of all. All you have to do is sit still. Though its kinda the hardest. It’s the best place to begin, and the one that will follow you through to the end.
Another M Word, and just as taboo for some. For others, this may already be a disciplined part of your daily practice, or a indispensable part of your life. There are many ways to learn, to practice and volumes have been written about all the variations. There is no one right way – only your way. How do you find that out? You might start by reading, reaching out, joining a group – and take it all with a grain of salt. What works for others IS for others. You’ll need to find what works for you. Experiment. Try. Find what works for you now, and be willing to allow your practice to change as you change.
I’m going to share my way. If it works for you, great. If not, please explore, be open and find a way that does. Please, start and stick with it. Meditation is possibly the single most important tool for finding and creating inner and outer peace. And all we have to do is sit still?
Yes. Still of body. Still of mind. That’s the complicated part. We’ll look more at our crazy-maker minds later, but for now, please begin if you have not already – or continue, or expand upon – a daily mediation process. Perhaps in the morning, waking five minutes before the rat race begins. Or take an extra two minutes in the shower, on the toilet, in the bus. You can find, make or take the time if you so choose. And then…
Start by letting it go. All of it. The phone. The big screen. The text coming in. The appointment coming up. The work to be done. The things you need to do and say, places you need to go… Leave it. It’s not going anywhere. It will be there when you’re done. The world will manage okay for a minute without you. Try it. Just for a minute. No deadlines, no pressures, no electronic devices. Nothing we need to do or say, no where we need to go.
Close your eyes. Relax your body and clear your mind. Only chances are, your mind won’t clear. That’s okay. Don’t fight it. That’s how minds work, so let yours be. Let thoughts come and go, without holding on, allow them to pass like leaves in the wind or sticks floating down stream. Watch each thought come, and each thought go. And you remain. The leafless tree flexing in the winter wind. The steady rock smoothed by the flowing waters. The solid in the storm.
Thoughts will come, and in time will slow. Don’t fight it. Let them flow. You need not cling and dwell and hash them out. Just let them come, and let them go. It will be easier with practice. Continue with your practice.
Find a gentle place to rest your mind. Focus on the inhale, the exhale and the space in between. As a thought comes, let it come, acknowledge it, thank it, and release it, and bring your attention back to your breath. Over and over and over again. Your thoughts will give you countless opportunities to learn about release and return. Be grateful for every one. With all this practice, you will be great at this before too long!
And return to your breath. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause. And back again.
If you body feels itchy or fidgety, place your right hand on your left wrist and feel your pulse. Focus on your pulse. Find a rhythm, the harmony between your pulse and your breath. That’s all you really need.
Stay with it for a minute. Then try two. Then five, ten, fifteen. How much time can you spend in stillness? How important is the stillness to you?
Listen to your breath. Follow the inhales. Hold it. Release with the exhales. Feel your pulse, your heart, your moving blood. Flowing like the river. Watch the world around you. You are not separate from it. You are a part of it. You are the river. Flow. Connect. Go with it. Be. Become. Allow thoughts to come and go, floating down the stream…
What matters more than the sound of geese congregating on wet pasture in cool morning. Or the rising sun, magenta, striking snow covered ridges. The reflection of a cloudless sky on a small pond. Mirror images of leafless trees dancing in silky ripples. My skin. My thoughts. My fears. Let them go. All the he said, she said, what they think of me, I said too much, too little, the wrong thing. Let it all go. How can I hold onto what is gone? What is no longer here. The vibration does not continue anywhere but in my wild mind when I chose to play with it. Let it go. I am not this hurt. That wound. I am not a word. A story. Or language or sound. I am not what I said. Or what you said. Those are only words. Things that pass through me. And last no further than as they leave my tongue. Words, thoughts, fears, anger, attachment, exceptions, criticism, judgments. Release these things. These are not me, they are not you, they just are as I just am. Let the rest go. And I am what? What am I left with? The rock worn smooth. Solid and unmoving. Over which the water flows. Or am I the water. A part of it. Moving or remaining. Can you tell what it does, where it goes. What part leaves and what remains. Or is it all just what it is. Part of the river, flowing water. And does that matter anyway.
This is not about going anywhere. Doing anything. Accomplishing something. It’s just about being. Being silent and still, letting things come and letting things go. Holding onto nothing. Attached to nothing. Expecting nothing. Assuming nothing. And yes, it is hard. And yes, you can do it. And so can I.
I cannot sit here and tell you what to do. I can only encourage you to try. Not to try to be something, someone, or somewhere else. Just to be you. Just yours. Just be. The greatest thing to do. The greatest thing to be.