Practicing StillnessAug 04, 2022
"Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak." Buddha
This quote is one of my favorites. It's so simple and yet has so much meaning. The dictionary definition of stillness is the absence of movement or sound. But is that all there is to it?
My understanding of stillness is pure awareness, formless consciousness, and knowing beyond thought. The absence of noise or content is actual but, many things are happening in the physical and mental body radically. Stillness is self care. Stillness is grounded, peaceful, and with ease. There is no effort. It's secure, and there is a sense of freedom. It's being present in the flow with the universe; who doesn't want that. The presence of self and inner peace brings the quiet mind, which is more internal than external.
There were times in my life when I hated waking up early in the morning because the moments of no sound were alarming. I felt uncomfortable staying in the head and disassociated from the body. Looking for ways to get away from judgmental self-talk thinking seemed more manageable in the short term. Making plans to keep me busy with friends, watching TV, or listening to music were some routines to avoid silence.
When the mind is chaotic and never stops creating thoughts, we can't slow down and focus on what we want or need. There is a disconnection and miscommunication between the body, mind, and soul. We can't make good decisions. Even if there is sound, we can be aware of many things with a peaceful mind. It's not easy to just come to that relaxed state of mind because there are many stimuli. Silence helps, but it's not the primary component of feeling relaxed. We need to take time off from our busy lives to practice stillness and listen to the sensations of our bodies.
My perception of stillness has changed as I deepened the connection with myself. It is quiet, calm, and peaceful when I wake up early. I enjoy the chirping of birds. Now, I'm carving out moments during the day for silence to breathe and ask myself how I authentically and genuinely feel.
Having stillness in mind is what we all are looking for, after all. It's a state where the body is relaxed but alive, and the mind is quiet but aware. I'm sure you've experienced it. As if there is no time, you encounter a short period that feels very long and pleasant, or long hours may seem very short with total concentration.
Coming to that silent moment is a practice. It's a skill that we need to develop. It's practicing listening and strengthening our connection to that subtle frequency of wisdom, knowing without thinking, when we allow ourselves to be quiet in our minds.
So how can we achieve this state of awareness more often?
1. Conscious Breathing
Breathing is the easiest, quickest and safest way to connect to your body and change your physical and mental state. Pause for a moment, take one conscious breath through the nose, exhale, and do this ten times. Observe the sensations that arise. The moment you change your breathing, the body follows that transition. Mind drops into the heart, and the body softens. An instant effect of conscious breathing is clarity.
Meditation is not to fix something. Stepping out of our conditioning allows us to be aware of our core being, who we indeed are. Coming to quietness through meditation is communication with our soul, the higher self. There are different parts of stillness. When you think it's still during the meditation, you can experience a deeper level of silence. Bliss!
It's difficult for some people to meditate, even if it's silent. When you give attention to every idea that's going through in your head, it's almost impossible to be still. The mind is looking for thoughts to create, and the inner voice never stops. Listening to a guided meditation is a great way to stay focused if you struggle to concentrate on your breathing during meditation.
A common misunderstanding is that meditation is good to start when you're under stress. Observing feelings and sensations will guide you to make better decisions during stressful situations. Start meditating anytime soon and keep it consistent to help you when you're at the edge of getting overwhelmed.
Research has proven that regular meditation increases alpha and theta brainwaves which help us to physically and emotionally relax, be creative, and improve our intuition.
3. Spending time in nature
Nature is there to practice stillness in a very profound, gentle way; there are soothing sounds in nature. Plants, animals, air, colors, and scents are ways to expand our consciousness — intuition, emotions, and feelings, when we surrender to nature.
You may have experienced at some periods in your life that you are conscious without thought, which is happening innately.
Stillness is our nature, just as nature teaches us stillness. When I look at a tree, I see how deeply rooted it is in being. When walking or resting in the heart, honor the creation by just observing. Be still. Look. Listen.
These three practices can become one and create miracles in your life. While being in nature, walking, sitting by the water, cycling or jogging, breathing consciously, and observing wildlife is astonishing for our well-being, permitting us to unite.
Trauma-Informed Breathwork Facilitator
To learn more about Aysu, or to book a session with her, visit this link.
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