Five years ago I always needed to be on the go, filling up my days as much as I could. If I was still I struggled to be in it, it felt uncomfortable and unyielding. I struggled with unworthiness and depression and I could not sit with my ego thoughts in stillness. No connection to my body, breath or heart. Opinions and judgement taking over each day. All of these were a reflection of my own judgements of myself. In reality stillness was exactly what I needed. Time to breathe and create space from my thoughts and turn the attention inwards.
Lately stillness and silence are so comforting and allow me to be at peace. It has taken time to find this space, especially because in today’s modern world we are surrounded by distractions. Our ego will always try to distract us from what we really need. The distractions seem to bring short-term joy and excitement that before long leads back to wanting more distractions. At some point I recognised my own avoidance in so many areas in my life. The areas and exact details don’t really matter, recognising it is enough.
Stillness allows me to BE. I let go of judgement and opinions. I let go of the noisy chatter that feeds my ego and creates paranoia. It lets me listen to the birds, hear the rustling leaves and other background noises. Nothing feels disturbing, it just is. This moment where it is me, my heart and no agenda, no plan. The words it’s too hard and I can’t do this kept popping up in my mind as I started this journey. So much resistance and an urge to run in the opposite direction. It is not easy coming to terms with avoidance, denying all knowledge is much easier than facing it. Instead I made a conscious decision to start facing my truth instead of ignoring it.
So what do I do to let stillness into my life? As soon as you decide to face your distractions you are one step closer to stillness. Here are some of my favourite ways to find stillness each day. Keep in mind we all lead very different lives and time plays a large factor in all of this. My biggest tip is to just start, even if it is for a few minutes every day. Firstly find a space where you can be left alone just for a few minutes. This may seem impossible if you have small children or even a needy pet. Begin with setting an intention to create time for stillness. Somehow when you find your calm your children and pets will feel that energy and reciprocate. I’ve had a cat come and sit on my lap as I meditate.
5 Ideas to create Stillness:
- Sit down comfortably and close your eyes. Take a nice inhale that is slow and expansive followed by a slow long exhale. Repeat that a few times and then soften your breath a little. Keep the focus on your breath and on every exhale allow your body to relax even further. Let each muscle relax just a little bit. You may still have thoughts that filter in, acknowledge them and shift your attention back to your breath letting the thoughts release.
- Get outside in some fresh air, preferably in nature and on your own. Leave your phone at home. Take a slower walk, allowing yourself to make a note of your surroundings. Notice the birds, the plants, maybe the sunrise or the sunset. Let yourself enjoy this time, again noticing any thoughts that arise and gently releasing them. Be in awe of the wonders around you. It is moments like these where we can allow ourselves to remember how beautiful the world is.
- Eat one meal in silence. Allow yourself to enjoy every single bite of food. One of my favourite moments of my day is my cup of masala chai in the morning. Sitting near the window listening to the sounds of the birds and that early morning quietness. All the while enjoying the spicy flavours of my chai. When you really allow yourself to be present ad silent during a meal you somehow enjoy it even more. I love doing this at breakfast as it lets me start my day full of gratitude.
- A quiet bath or shower. This is a favourite and sometimes I light candles to soften things further. There is something about water that feels purifying, and allows for release. Take your time, a few minutes more than usual to just slow down. Connect to your breath and body. Allow your thoughts to soften, again acknowledging them when they show and letting them go. Stillness in the shower often lets me hear my inner voice. The soft musings of love that come from my soul to guide me along. Now I am not suggesting you will hear any musings of love. Instead just allow yourself to enjoy this time and be present in the moment.
- Make time for a quiet hobby, it could be art, knitting, reading, sewing, anything where you won’t feel frustrated. I love swimming and I could happily spend an hour swimming lengths just focusing on my breath. This process is about letting your thinking mind relax so choose something that doesn’t involve huge emotions. Be present and aware as you carry out these activities.
All of these suggestions are different forms of meditation. They allow us to be more present and aware. They provide a way for the mind to be become less vocal and a deeper connection to follow instead. Stillness allows for perspective, it allows us time to acknowledge our feelings and emotions away from our ego. If all of this feels impossible to begin with and your natural instinct is to run away and give up, give it a chance. This is a normal reaction, take it step by step. You will feel the grip of the mind soften and you will begin to enjoy these silent and tranquil moments of solitude.
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