Inside Yoga 318 (5/6/21)
This is for those of us who find it hard to stop, and so difficult that we feel guilty wasting time: with an internal mantra of “must keep doing something”. But stopping is not necessarily doing nothing and it might well be what we need right now.
Fundamentally, I am playing with semantics here, but consider this:
If I decide to do nothing, I am doing something.
Yes, it might sound odd, but if we consciously decide to stop physically – our physical position, whether standing, sitting or lying down, does not matter – and stop thinking and just breathe, we are actually engaged in an activity. We are doing something.
By contrast, procrastination is time wasting, because it is the thief of time, whereas consciously stopping is neither procrastination nor is it time wasting.
I am proposing an activity which is focussed on stopping and listening. We can listen to our breathing, and we can listen to whatever is around us, and importantly, do what we can NOT to listen to our thoughts, however pressing our they might appear to be.
I am not suggesting a long pause either: just a minute can make a difference, and possibly, almost certainly, a few minutes longer will be better.
A good example of why a few minutes more will make a difference is this: if we take a walk in a park or the countryside, and stop for a few moments, the longer we stop and listen the more we will hear and notice, because nature itself can be quite busy! Or if in a park with others, we start to notice other people and what they are doing, instead of being caught up in our internal chatter and possibly drama!
Or even at a train station, or in our office, at home, we pause and watch, because those moments can be so calming. Perhaps it does sound like day dreaming and in many ways it is similar, but what I am suggesting is something more controlled and thereby less random.
A conscious pause like this is in many ways what the act of meditation is: we stop and we focus on something which will hold our attention and block out unwanted thoughts and distractions, and the breathing/body is often what we use is the object of meditation. These few moments might be all we need to feel calmer and clearer, and less stressed or worried.
This is a message for all of us, but especially those who are always making themselves busy, and those whose work make them so busy, plus those who fit both of these categories: inevitably they feed off each other.
Remember, there is nothing wrong in doing nothing. It is an important activity.
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