As I look back, I realized that even as young as 7 years of age, I would crave to find a place where I could be ‘quiet’ so that I could be still and listen to the waves rolling into shore, watch the sun sparkling on the ocean and surrender into the arms of nature.
During my childhood nothing gave me more pleasure than escaping from the Rowley brood (I was the eldest of five) with my pencils, books and music (transistor in those days) and ‘just sit’ and ‘watch’ or ‘draw’ and ‘create’ amidst a soundscape of sea-gulls, summer breeze and dulcet melodies.
It was the state of ‘being’ that kept me calm and centered, just as it does now. ‘Being’ is such a powerful and healing quality of humanity that is so often neglected. Yes, it means ‘to stop’!
Doing next to nothing you may ask? Really? It was probably a ‘sin’ at school.
And I can still hear the words: ‘don’t just sit there, do something’.
Ironically one of my most loved expressions is by the Vietnamese monk and Pacifist, Thich Nhat Hanh, who wrote ‘don’t just do something, sit there’. Upon reflection, the latter words and practice are far more useful to me!
Perhaps you will find one of these practices useful too…they are not difficult to remember:
When the eyes are unmoving, so is the mind. Focus upon an image, real or imagined. The mind calms, stillness comes.
Take one deep breath, then another. There is much to be said about just stopping to take a deep breath. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out slowly.
Make each breath longer than the last. To slow down, imagine each breath is fuller, more nourishing than the last one.
Make your out-breath longer than the in-breath. Yes, it is the same amount of air! But it is the in-breath that energises and the out-breath that soothes. Slow the out-breath down and feel its soothing quality.
Observe beauty. Don’t glimpse it…..absorb it! I took this photo of a friend of mine on a Burmese shore. She stood there for a long, long time….what does it say to you?
Be ‘aimless’. Sit and plan to do nothing. In this very moment, ‘achieving ‘ is not the pre-requisite – things are just as they are meant to be.
Be ‘mindful’. Observe the apple that you are eating, the tea that you are sipping, and the sounds that you are hearing. You are in the present. .
Visit the ‘gap’. In between our thoughts there is a ‘gap’. Rest there. Peace is present.
Retreat within: Find your outer haven: a room, a beach, a park. Then enter your inner sanctuary to find your quiet place.
Will this help? A free Mindfulness Timer App?
“When you are fully in the ‘now’, the beauty, mystery and magic of this world are unfurled and its gifts are laid before you”.