We have become addicted to movement and have difficulty tolerating moments of stillness and inactivity. When our minds are asked to wait, to listen or to rest, it can cause us discomfort. Mindfulness and meditation can help us observe our inclination to distract ourselves, as well as teach us how to become more comfortable with moments of stillness.
Distraction can prevent us from enjoying the present moment, where genuine contentment and happiness can be found. When we continuously search for things beyond our reach, we are unable to acknowledge that the present moment can actually be quite enjoyable. When we take time to sit in stillness, we open ourselves to a greater understanding of our minds and its true nature, one of contentment and joy.
Below are a couple of short exercises that can be done both in meditation and during our daily lives. Through it, we can still our minds and cultivate a a greater sense of peace.
Meditation on Stillness:
- Take a comfortable seat in the most quiet place you can find, far from distractions
- Set a timer for 3, 5 or 7 minutes
- Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath
- Give yourself permission to rest, to do nothing, to simply be still
- Rest in the presence of breath and body awareness
- Each time you notice the ‘doing’ of future thinking, or the ‘doing’ of rumination on the past, remind yourself that you have permission to let it go, to stay present, to rest
- Feel your mind relax back into the freedom of spaciousness
- Let your mind take a break and rest in a sense of ease
A Mindfulness Task:
- Do only one thing at a time, avoid multitasking
- Notice how often during your day you get the opportunity to do nothing
- Can you take advantage of these moments and do less?
- Notice when you fill space with mindless or busy-ing activity
- Notice when you fill space in your mind by thinking
- How often, outside of formal meditation, do you just sit and notice and listen?
Questions to Reflect Upon:
When we actively choose to spend more of our energy and focus on stillness, instead of mindless activity, we become aware of how much of what we do is really unneeded. All the moments spent needlessly occupying our body, speech, and mind can easily be distractions from the matters that really matter. Suddenly, more of our time is devoted to what’s important, and the world has far more space than we can fathom. With that newfound knowledge, we start to see the possibilities of our newfound freedom, contentment, and joy, all without having to do a single thing.