Stillness doesn’t mean lack of progress and constant movement doesn’t always mean moving forward.
I was enjoying my yoga class, when the instructor said something I probably always knew but never fully realised how important that is. She said: “Let yourself stay still. Movement doesn’t always mean progress and stillness isn’t a laziness.” What she said wasn’t just talking about keeping our bodies still, she was directing us to apply this strategy primarily to our minds.
In the modern world speed has become second nature; fast internet, high paced environment, multitasking. Our constant attachment to the smartphones keeps us on alert almost 24/7. We are always on the go, trying to figure out what else can we shove into our overloaded daily schedules.
Do you notice those days when you were so busy you hardly had time to get a glass of water and your fitness tracker showed kilometers of walked distance or you were just exhausted from doing all in once. Yet, when you reflect back on your day you realise that nothing has been done to completeness.
This persistent white noise of thoughts, plans and ideas in our mind never shuts down. It’s like an old fan in the room that you don’t realize how loud it is until you turn it off. And this is exactly what we need once in a while; to stop this stream running through our brains, let our mind to be still and quiet for a few moments, to stop thinking (the absolute opposite from what we were taught as children). This ability to shut down and allow both, the brain and body, to recharge is vital to long term health and wellness, just as our computers need a complete shutdown from time to time to allow them to run at peak efficiency...so do we.
I know from my own experience it’s easier said than done. It takes practice to slow our minds down. Maybe at the beginning you will be able to do it only for 10 seconds. But you know what? It’s OK, it’s already better than nothing.
So, how exactly do you do this? You do not need an expensive yoga outfit or be alone in a quiet room or even to take a specific meditation pose. All you need is to create an intimacy within yourself. Just close your eyes and listen to the sound of your own breath, put an imaginary fence around your mind and let yourself just be for a few moments. There are no rules for how long you need to stay still, how many times per day / week to repeat this exercise or what your focus is on (be it the song you will be crooning to yourself, your breathing, the setting sun or something else that brings you joy and ease). Just try it out. It’ll take some effort to get used to this new idea of allowing yourself do nothing, so try different variations or different times of the day to see what will work best for you. Your refreshed mind will be very grateful for your efforts.