“Above all, the only thing you have to heal is the present thought. Get that right and the whole picture will change into one of harmony and joy.”
– Eckhart Tolle
Being aware of our thoughts is a powerful tool for mastering our minds. When our thoughts go on without our conscious awareness they become the driving force of our actions, words and in turn our character.
Taking time to notice the thoughts that are zooming through your mind will give you insight into what patterns, habits and beliefs are running your daily life. With this awareness comes the power to choose, to put a stop sign in front of the rush of thinking we generate every moment. This gap in our thinking that is made possible by being aware of our thoughts, without judging them, gives space. With this small space we have the choice to pick our thoughts.
Instead of simply watching a seemingly random unfolding of constant thinking we can now pick what thoughts we put into our minds and in turn what ideas, beliefs, words and character we wish to live.
How to Choose Your Thoughts:
1. Close your eyes, and ask yourself one questions: What am I thinking about right now?
2. Let the answer come. It may take a few moments to clarify what is the dominate subject of your thoughts but it will come.
3. Take 10 deep slow breaths allowing your thoughts to slow.
4. Pick one thought, make it a good one. A thought that lifts your spirits, and brings excitement. Allow yourself a few minutes to fully engage with this thought, and watch where your mind will take this new, conscious thought.
In this closing month of the year we have entered into a time of the year’s deepest darkness. We are approaching the winter solstice that marks the longest night and the shift into growing light. According to some First Nations traditions, this time is marked by the Moon of Long Nights. A time when our biology is asking us to go in, to hibernate and conserve our energy.
“These days an appreciation of the season’s darkness and hope is lost in the rush of holiday plans, of shopping and purchasing, of making a list and checking it twice. It is not part of our cultural consciousness to let ourselves be in the dark, to meditate upon the darkness, to listen, to pray. Instead we rush headlong into the light. Many of us zoom past the solstice in a rush of last-minute to-dos, and arrive exhausted on Christmas morning, glad to have survived the ordeal once again…On the Moon of Long Nights, may we begin to be a little more comfortable with the dark, and the mystery it symbolizes. May we remember to sleep, and to rest, to dream, and to talk to the Divine. May we remember that there is no such thing as human perfection and show humility in the presence of all the things that surpass understanding. May we remember that both illness and difference can be gifts, or can carry within them gifts of very great measure. Let us not be too arrogant to accept the gift, or to offer the giver a place at our table. And may that table be full of nourishing foods, with plenty to share.” (Jessica Prentice in her book Full Moon Feast)
As you head toward the final days of 2015 allow yourself this time to go deep within. Revel in the darkness so that you may reflect on the unfolding of the past 12 months. Be still and quiet to hear your hearts wisdom for the coming year.
Here is a full 30 minute Yoga Nidra practice to help you tap into your creative dreams for the year ahead.
“Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. It is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Life is motion. On a physical level, to completely cease all motion is to die. Only at death are we motionless, or still. So what does it mean to “be still” when we are holding a posture, seated in meditation or even in deep sleep?
We never truly render our bodies still nor should we for complete stillness equates to death of the body.
Through the act of becoming still something shift. To reach a still state we must embrace slowing down. Like torpor experienced by hibernating animals, we begin to slow our bodies and minds down but not with the intention of turning away from the world. Coming toward stillness is coming into direct experience with the world around us.
Stillness is often described by the well-loved metaphor of stilling ones mind as though a pond, free of ripples. Even though the top may appear perfectly still underneath life is swimming. But in the act of the winds ceasing to blow and the disturbances on the surface ceasing to occur we are able to see more clearly through the waters. In the act of stilling we are able to come into a closer experience with our true nature.
In the experience of our energetic body, motion creates vibration. Sound is a result of vibration. Once the vibrations are stilled or slowed there is less sound. In the silence we are able to hear. We can understand sound as the information our ears receive but there is the physical sound or the vibrations our body receives as well as the vibratory information our eyes receive. In slowing ourselves toward stillness we are reducing the many forms of vibration within our experiences. As this form of all encompassing silence is reached we are able to experience the world around and within free from the disturbances of all the vibrations.
“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behaviour. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise.” ~Eckhart Tolle
In the experience of slowing down there is a subtle sensation of expanding. Coming toward a still state brings with it deep experience and alignment. To bring oneself into stillness is to bring one self into alignment with the movement of the natural world or what some call flow. To be still is to move in sync with the universe.