If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick everyday.

– Leonard Cohen

Via Richard Simmons

I’m Not Sleeping

Thoughts rattle around my head. I toss and turn. I think I’ve found a sense of calm, but really it’s just my mind taking a breath.

The thoughts keep coming.

My mind is trying to solve work and personal problems at the same time. But, it’s not helping. I need that time to recuperate. 

Tonight, I will master the darkness. I will find calm within the chaos. 

When the world is spinning, close your eyes and take a deep, deep breath.

The Art of Relaxation – On Finding the Silence Beyond the Noise With Meditation

Charles Rondeau – Image source.

“Do you want to go to a meditation class?” A colleague asked me this week. I had experimented with meditating on my own a bit before, but this was an invitation I couldn’t refuse.

We started with some Tai Chi exercises to stretch ourselves a little. “We’re going to be sitting for a long time,” said the instructor. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I ended up flapping my arms about and should have just stretched for real. That would have saved my shoulders.

The truth is, you could do this anywhere, and once you get confident, you’ll have this little island of relaxation always with you.

I noticed two things. It’s much easier to meditate than you think. And, time will really fly. I thought we were only there for half an hour, but it had really been an hour.

To get you started, you need to hear someone guiding you. Luckily, there are plenty of YouTube clips of meditation classes. The reason for this is the NLP and mild hypnosis element of what they say and how they say it. You can’t help but be lead into finding a deep meditative / trance-like state. Some people think that trances are something bad, instead it’s just your mind in a neutral and suggestible state – like watching TV, listening to a talk, or driving.

That’s right, you’ve been in and out of trances all day, and you’re not far from meditating.

Once you get used to how your real, or virtual instructor guides you into a state of meditation, you will be able to do it on your own. Fun, huh?

So, I can’t get you into a meditative state. But, I can talk about the experience.

I think one of the most important elements of meditating is that you accept everything that happens, but then allow that event to fade away. Interruptions and sounds become part of the experience, but then you take control of it and allow it to disappear.

Your mind will want to continue to think of your challenges, circling and circling like it does all day. However, you now have a tool to silence them. You just refocus on your meditation exercises and you get to silence them.

After a few minutes, as the thoughts quieten, and you focus on the noises you can hear – maybe the hum of the air-con, the click as a part of the room settles, the tweet of a bird in the distance.

And then you find it. The silence. You won’t grasp it completely. It’s like a faint star that you can only really see if you don’t look directly at it. You’ll be able to touch it with the tip of your fingers.

But, it’s enough. In that moment, your body will be completely relaxed, numb, almost disconnected from you. Your mind will have accepted the moment, the circling thoughts will have ceased, and the underlying noise of the world will seem more like static, noise intermingled with the silence beyond.

The art of relaxing is to touch the silence.

To speed forwards, we first need to learn how to stop.