Slowing Down for Mindfulness
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading ~ Lao Tzu
I love the changing seasons. And I particularly love the fall. The still-warm sun, the crisp nights, and no mosquitoes. Change is something we can't avoid, yet all too often the big void that is the unknown tends to scare the living daylights out of us. Changing jobs, careers, partners, houses, cities ... there is so much change in modern life, and our bodies and minds are simply not designed to deal well with rapid change on a constant basis.
Even a regular routine day involves a lot of change. Waking up, looking after kids or pets or parents, fighting traffic on the way to work, working with people you may or may not like, trying to meet deadlines, fighting traffic on the way home, looking after kids or pets or parents, making dinner, zonking out on the couch. Every change excites your nervous system and revs it up, like a car idling in park when you put your foot on the gas. And if you don't get enough really good, deep sleep, you stay revved up. And so you may wake up revved up, instead of well rested.
The antidote to being revved up all the time, with the havoc that this state wreaks on your body and mind, is simple, yet it can be hard to practise. Slow down. Slo-o-w down. Breathe. Notice what it feels like to breathe. Notice the jumble that is your mind when you stop and notice all the thoughts, feelings and emotions that cram their way into your head all day long. Every thought or emotion sends another signal to your nervous system. "High alert! Time to rev up!" Your body and mind get used to being in high gear, and thus slowing down can be so difficult!
Because slowing down is so difficult, the practice that I'm going to share with you is vital to helping to you do just that.
Sitting daily to practise meditation is a vital practice to help us to slow down. When we meditate, we give ourselves permission to slow down and notice. Everything. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Simply to sit with it and watch what is happening in our bodies and minds. As the Zen proverb goes: "You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day - unless you're too busy. Then you should sit for an hour."
Donna offers a holistic perspective on the relationship and healing of physical and emotional pain.