During the course of one day research has shown there are more than 10,000 thoughts going through our minds. So, wouldn’t you agree your mind needs a break from time to time? Before you associate break with falling asleep, I just want to remind you it is possible to let it rest and recharge while you are awake. Meditation will facilitate it.
Right now you might be saying, “I can’t meditate! Why would I waste time sitting down doing nothing when there is so much to be done?” Well, because when you feel rested, you will be able to think more clearly and maybe even solve your issues more easily. If you would like to give it a try, go for it! The rewards are unbelievable; it is a life changing experience. But if you think you cannot sit down for ten minutes or so, there are other options, which are called active meditations.
There are many ways to meditate while being active. You could go for a nature walk, and quietly observe flora and fauna around you. You could run, if that takes you to the “zone”; swimming works for many people, too; and so do many other sports. There is one activity that will lead you to a great active meditation, and it has a plus: you will be able to dig deeper into yourself, because the poses seem to twist you from the inside out, and bring all feelings and issues you need to work with. Yes, I am talking about yoga. I have been through so much on my yoga mat! I am sure every yogi will tell you the same story, adding that yoga will bring you to inner calmness relatively quickly.
As I was doing my yoga yesterday, the instructor told us to try to be present while doing the poses, and make an effort to stop the chattering in your minds just for that day. Well, most of us yogis try to quiet our minds every time we do yoga, but when you are flowing through one pose to another, you tend to forget about it, and when the muscles start to burn or you can’t quite grasp that deep twist the teacher led you to, your mind starts getting busy to escape that. So, this teacher would tell us, “Hey! Drop your story!” He would repeat this every time we were more than just a few seconds on a certain pose to remind us to be present.
As I stood on another pose and the muscles started to shake, somehow my mind got into something that happened weeks before that day. As I flowed with that thought without even realizing it, I heard the teacher saying again, “Drop your story!” Yup, he got me again, I thought. He added, “How long can you keep the chattering away from your mind? Notice when it pops up!” It had already begun, but I promised myself I would pay attention on the next pose. And the class continued for about sixty minutes, but it seemed to be more than that, probably because I was trying to be present many times, which makes you live every moment more intensely and it seems to take longer.
As we settled down into frog pose – an unbelievable pose for releasing – he reminded us to quiet our minds and pay attention to the stillness, to our body, to our feelings. My hips were already frowning, and I felt the story coming up, so I became extra alert as I handled my body struggling in that position in what seemed to be an eternity. “Drop your story”, he repeated. Yes, it was coming. He knew. All of us knew it, too. I watched in the darkness of my empty mind for as long as I could until… there I was again, taken by a story that had never happened, but my mind made it up anyways. And I thought, “What the heck? Why I am even thinking about this?” Then it went back to the thoughtless state. Not for long! Probably seconds later there I was again engaged in another story my mind came up with. I dropped it again. And I repeated this cycle a couple more times until a fire burned inside me, and I caught myself asking, “Why is it so hard for you to let go of everything? Why is it so hard for you to just allow life to happen? Just to allow the present to be? What a struggle! Just let go, drop everything now, and allow yourself to be.” The voice was right; I was struggling not just with my body, but also my mind. I had to learn to let go on that moment. Let go of the muscle fatigue, my hips refusing to open an inch wider, my mind chattering all the time, worries that had been on my mind, and so many stories among the at least 10,000 thoughts that permeate our minds per day. That’s how yoga is; it will bring up what needs to be dealt with, sometimes disguised in a pose, but in the end it is all about what is inside of you, poking that rock so it will finally move and allow energy to flow. That is the big lesson, let it all flow. Just like the thoughts that come to your mind, just let them flow.
Whether you choose still meditation or an active one, cleaning your mind of thoughts even if just for a second is very important and brings many rewards. I suggest you try it, you will feel incredible. And if that brings feelings up to the surface, acknowledge them and let them pass. Everything will be fine.