This week’s exercise sounds easy – but for me – it’s not. It has little to do with movement, in fact, it’s the taming of it. It’s stillness. Stillness of the body and the mind. If you already have a meditation or silence practice, you won’t be fighting this one as much as the rest of us.
Here’s how I’ve traditionally approached this practice when I’ve read about it. I’ll pick up some book that promises it can help make me into a happier/more content/more aware version of myself. The good ones will have some form of a quietening the mind exercise and I’ll read through the chapter believing that by reading it, I’ve kinda done it. Or I’ll think that because it’s so easy, I don’t really have to do it – grabbing the concept is surely enough. Yet, it’s not enough which is why I end up buying the same kind of book a year later.
So now I’m gonna prescribe the exercise to you and I solemnly swear that I’ll do it too. <Gulp>.
What you need:
A floor, a chair or some place to sit (just don’t lie down! I’ve tried that before…zzzz)
How it works:
Day 1 – 6
Choose a time where you will sit in silence for 12 minutes. Set your timer. Observe your mind without attaching to your thoughts. When you invariably do attach, acknowledge that you have and resume the practice. You can acknowledge the mind by saying something like: “thank you mind”, or “thinking”, or “uh huh” or whatever will get you back into the present moment. When you become aware of your thoughts – think of them as the cars passing in front of your house. They come – they go. Remember there is no getting this right – it’s all in the practice – in taking the time and genuinely doing your best. Honor your commitment to this for the next 6 days. Choose your time carefully. Unplug all distractions. Set yourself up so you can do this successfully.
Grab a pen and paper. Set your timer for 12 minutes. Write solidly for twelve minutes. Whatever comes to your head – prose, poetry, gibberish – put it down on paper. At the end of the 12 minutes, read through your work, find three key words that pop out. Write them down on a separate piece of paper and discard the first.
The reward: greater awareness.
With all the socializing and family expectations that this holiday brings – for me, the timing of this exercise is dead on. Maybe after a week of this I’ll find it less hard.
Good luck and see you on the other side.
In health, love and happiness,
ps – I’d really love to hear from you after this week – whether you were successful or not.