THE INNER "I"
While yoga and meditation might be the most well known ways to quiet the mind, there’s more than two ways to connect with your innermost self. The key is to keep trying until you find a method that allows you to observe your inner voice. It’s from this vantage point that stillness begins and you can access, thus alter, the thoughts that don’t align with the true you.
Use the following practice as a foundation for finding stillness in any scenario you face -especially the stressful ones! When you find yourself acting out of character or controlled by tainted emotions, turn inwards and locate your inner observer who sees it all and knows how to rise above it.
The “who” -aka you– is what matters most in this practice, thus the “what”, “when”, “where”, and “why” should stay on the sidelines. This practice can be used wherever, whenever, and under any circumstance. The only thing that’s ever needed to find inner stillness lies in your mind.
To begin, it’s up to you to discover what method works best to quiet your mind. Not what’s most relaxing or puts you to sleep, but what approach helps you access the space between your thoughts. For some people yoga, guided meditation, or deep breathing patterns does the trick. But for many others, especially those new to quieting the mind, a more active approach works. This could be running, playing with an animal, reading, listening to music, gardening, getting creative, or just being in nature. There is never a right or wrong way to relax your mind, so keep trying until you find what works for you!
It is nearly impossible to silence all thoughts, so the goal is to find an activity that allows you hear and decipher the running dialogue in your mind. This is the place where your ego dominates over your true voice. Once you reach here, it becomes easier to distinguish between the judging mind (not you) and the observing mind (you!). Then you’ll be able to access this space anytime, anywhere with or without your activity to guide you.
Once you’ve identified at least one approach, it’s time to connect to the spaces of stillness that surface when the judging mind goes to sleep. This is when the observing mind takes charge and actively examines every thought and emotion that crosses its path. But because it’s the observing mind there is no judgment -no right or wrong- about what passes through. Simply put, this is being.
In order to let the observing mind take control, the judgmental mind must take a back seat. If we don’t have immediate access to our mind quieting activity, another way to achieve this is by choosing to let everything pass through you. No reaction. The scream of children, an incessant dog bark, bad drivers, being late, etc. Whenever you feel your buttons are being pushed, allow it. Then after the stimulus has passed notice what’s left behind. Is it anger and annoyance, or is it acceptance and appreciation?
When the observing mind’s in charge, we see things for how they are -fleeting and fragile. An annoyance becomes a momentary inconvenience. And an argument becomes an opportunity for understanding. We choose how we see the events of our lives, thus we can change how we react to them. Wouldn’t you rather have control in the moment, before making a judgmental response? This is what seeking stillness is all about. The power to interject in the process of our actions and reactions so that we respond to the world through objective eyes.
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