The Pause. The Silence.
The pause. The silence.
How difficult is it for you to get silent? And pause. And get really still? What does it take? Have you ever really sat and thought about this? With the hustle and bustle of the outside world, the demands of jobs, family, the household tasks, it can be a near impossible task to sit in silence for a few minutes. How do you bridge the gap between not doing this and actually practicing it?
The answer, for me, lies in what I think is most important in my life. When Covid hit in the spring of 2020 and everything got shut down, I readjusted the ways I was looking at my days, my daily tasks and the importance of those therein. With my commute to work being an hour, I felt sleep was more important than a daily meditation practice. I justified this reasoning as an acceptable excuse for not meditating. During the quarantine, we were mandated to work from home and this excuse got zapped. I readjusted my attitude and perspective and started a daily meditation practice. I took a look at my days and realized I have always had time to meditate, I simply wasn’t making it a priority. I decided at that moment, to shift my priorities to include meditation and the best time, for me, to sit down in silence was right before I ascended up the stairs to get in bed. I would be plenty relaxed and had a few minutes before I actually needed to get to sleep. So, I set the goal.
The first week, it stunk. Not gonna lie. I would go into my meditation room, and light a candle, sit and fidget. Think about all the stuff I needed to do that week. Think about my hair. Hangnail. Workout. Work friend….and wonder what the heck was the benefit? I did this for 7 days straight before I felt burnt out. (Yes, I am dramatic). I realized I needed help. I needed encouragement and sources to help me understand what it was all for. I started reading up on the benefits of meditation. I spoke with some mentors and friends who had been doing it for years. I began to understand results would not come every single time I sat down to practice. The fact that I was sitting down each day and making the effort was enough most days. The attempt was enough. And then stuff started to happen.
The first interesting experience was during a visualization meditation. The thing to note here is right before this experience, a few people that I knew had recently died. Not people I was terribly close with, but people I had known at one point in my life or another. As I sat down one evening to meditate, the visualization I chose talked about a field of wildflowers and to imagine some people there with you. Immediately, the three people that had recently died showed up there. I felt immense peace. We all held hands and smiled. I knew, from that experience, these people had made it to the other side and were at peace.
The second experience happened, again, during another visualization meditation. The meditation was called “expanding love.” There was a line in this guided meditation that said, “Think of the greatest love you have ever felt for another human being. Let that love saturate every cell of your body until you become immersed in that great love.” During this, I thought about someone and how much I loved them. I had such an intense feeling of joy and realized our Creator must love us so much more than my tiny brain could comprehend and certainly more than I could love another human being. Even if we couldn’t always feel it, the world is constantly bathed in that great love. It moved me to tears. I wept tears of gratitude.
The last experience was during a volunteer event at the Homeless Shelter uptown. My husband and I went there every other week to teach the guys yoga. One evening, we had 4 participants show up. We led them through their slow flow yoga practice and then had them sit in silence for a few minutes at the end. Nothing really happened during this time for me personally, however, at the end, when we were packing up our mats to leave, one of the gentlemen came up to us. He said, “You know, I have been in this shelter for weeks. I am constantly thinking about being here, what got me here and what I can do to get out. But today, after our yoga and during the silence, I forgot all that. I forgot I was homeless. Thank you for that.”
Sometimes, in order to gain the benefits of something, we have to give up what we expect, what we think we want or need from the experience and just be in the action.
The results will come if we do the work.