Did It Stop When You Did?

Thought I’d give you some time before talking with you further about your pause time. How did it go? Did you take the time at all or just let it be another reading experience? If the latter, it could be a good example of how hard it is to stop, pause, center and “reboot.”

It is so important at this point to not go into judgment of yourself, the exercise… or even me! Yes, the mind can be that jealous of its activity that it will displace responsibility in so many ways. So, OK. That’s just the “what it is” we’re dealing with.

So what can we do next? My inclination is not to revert to the conventional cries for more discipline. No, I’d follow the T’ai Chi principle of “Four ounces can move a thousand pounds.” I’d soften in the face of this resistance to simply stop and be.

I suggest beginning by moving out of your chair and maybe even the whole space you’ve been reading this in. Next, make a cup of tea or coffee. Find a new seat, somewhere that welcomes you to gaze outside, or if on a patio, look around and actually see the natural world around you in all its detail. Nurture yourself and the moment with the warmth and comfort of a satisfying “cuppa.”

Wherever you choose to sit, turn your attention to your sensate experience in the moment. Feel your muscles relax as you settle into your seat. Now don’t take this simple action for granted! Really and honestly attend to the sensations of your muscles. These sensations are so immediate (if you will actually feel them) and so pleasurable they move your shift of focus and relaxation instantly. Attend closely to which muscles relax the most and let your attention join them. Add the warmth of the cup in your hands and the pleasure of its flavor as you sip and swallow. If it’s caffeinated, try and feel for its very first stirring and follow it as it brings new energy to you.

And yes. Breath consciously. Recovering the feeling of the regeneration each breath brings to your life can be a mental and emotional renewal as well. Take a few deep ones to make those feelings vivid. Attend to the cycle of inhale and exhale. You’ll refresh your mind and sooth conflicted emotions and feelings.

Now slowly close your eyes and really open your ears. Listen closely to hear each and every single sound in your environment. Don’t let a single one capture and hog your attention. Hear one then move on to another, then another and on and on. Next, listen for the qualities of each sound; its timbre, volume and energy. Listen even more closely. Imagine you’ve stepped into a conversation between all the elements in the environment around you; as though you can listen to the chat between the trees and the grass, and what the air has to say to all it embraces. Listen to the wind’s caress as it blows across all things. Listen, listen, lissssennnn.

Now listen to all the sounds at once. Hear every single sound you inventoried. All…at…once. Hold them all in your full field of awareness. Feel the space left over in your awareness. Always room for another sound. Now listen to the space in-between and all around your sounds. Hear the silence of those spaces; feel the quietude that silence brings. Savor its effect on your body. The quietude slips into peace. Let the breath take in this peace. It’s subtly is its power to affect you deliciously.

Now, slowly open your eyes and look out into the world before you. Give it a good scan and actually inventory all you can see. Nothing is too unimportant for the gentle acknowledgement of your gaze. Yes, make it a soft seeing, one where you imagine the object comes to your eyes and touches them gently and your eyes return the caress. See them all in their separateness, not letting any one capture your gaze for too long. And after this visual inventory, see them all at once. Hold all things in your visual field of awareness all at once.

Now see your seeing. All things become seen as IN your visual field but don’t fill it entirely to block your seeing. Your seeing envelopes them, and to see any one becomes a functional choice—a chosen shift in the way you see. As you see this way, you become aware of the space before you too. Space itself becomes a feature of your seeing. You can see space’s own containment of all things, just like your seeing sees them all plus space itself. Notice how you’re free to choose what you want to look at. No thing demands your focus.

And now I’m sure you’re expecting me to suggest you watch the grass grow. Well yeah, but with the spin of maybe just feeling into its aliveness. All things before you are dynamic, no matter how hard or dense, and so many are alive and in relationship with each other, as we’ve been reminded by ecologists. And you are in relationship with them. You are not separate from them; just watching them. No, you changed the scene and the dynamics of all things there the moment you stepped out to be with them. You are irrevocably included…unless you shift your focus and put yourself separate from them. That’s a real perception and one that can aid your time-out and reconnection with yourself and your place in the world. You do belong.

This moment is all about you, all about your giving yourself a chance to open to the openness of awareness itself. It gives you the space to let new, more pleasurable and positive thoughts arise; ones that may bring new insights and remind you of more of who you are than you’ve allowed to come out and play.

All right and OK, enough reading these suggestions. Leave this page and employ the words. It will serve us all.

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