If your brain had a volume dial, what notch would it be at right now? 2? 5? 9? The level of “noise” in your head greatly affects your ability to both work and relax effectively.
Practitioners of Eastern disciplines such as martial arts or yoga know the clarity, strength, and power can only come from a place of quiet calm. This is why you will begin first by quieting the mind. In so doing you essentially turn down the dial in your head so that you are more present and less distracted by the din or thoughts, worries, and fears.
Learn to let thoughts settle.
Think of a glass snow globe — when you shake it, snow fills the glass globe so that you can barely see inside. Allow the globe to sit undisturbed for just a few minutes, and the snow slowly settles to the bottom, leaving the water crystal clear. Your mind functions in a similar way — every day, a series of events, interactions, worries, fears, and thoughts kick up a whirling chaos of internal activity making it hard to really see what’s going on.
By taking a few minutes every day to allow the mind to become quiet, and letting the hundreds of fragments of thoughts and distractions drift to the bottom, you can gain greater clarity into who you are — apart from your thoughts and fears.
The most powerful tool for quieting the mind is the breath. Take a moment now to notice yours. Is it short and shallow? Slow and deep? When you breathe, does your lower belly or your chest expand? Take a moment to enjoy a full, satisfying breath. Really feel the air moving in and out of your body. Breathing is the only bodily function that is at once wholly under your control and yet flows through you without effort. It has the ability to both calm and revive you. By learning to focus on your breath, you become more present in your body and less susceptible to the harrowing effects of stress. Take your breathwork anywhere you wish — and practice often, whether it’s ten minutes in the morning or before bed, driving to work, or standing in line at the bank. Let your breath keep you calm.
Try this practice and see for yourself the benefits you can receive. Repeat at least daily or as often as possible. Next time, we’ll learn about observing our thoughts.
Be sure to access our Meditation Pebbles Podcast for easy five minute practices you can do easily. If you would like to work more with the breath and quieting the mind, be sure to explore our meditation and mindfulness instruction information. We offer personal and group instruction.
One series to take note of is the Meditation for Stress Relief. In this series, we’ll explore together how meditation can help relieve stress. You’ll learn detailed information on stress and how to de-stress, breathing focus meditations, body scan meditation, visualizations, and more in our one-on-one sessions.
*Excerpt from Healthy Rhythms