‘’The body benefits from movement, the mind benefits from stillness’’ Sakyong Mipham
The mind is often likened to the ocean. The surface of the water is heavily influenced by the weather. It may be wild and turbulent or calm and peaceful. Yet when you dive deep enough there is a space where it is always still, no matter what is happening up on the surface, this space of peace and calm exists within us also.
I find so much comfort in this. Life may be crazy, sending situations, stresses, worries that can throw us off centre. Yet no matter what is happening on the surface of our external lives, if we allow ourselves to release the grip, we can sink, deeply into the space within that is always calm. Thoughts and emotions can be swirling around us, but this quiet place is always there. Even on days where it feels impossible to connect with the calm take comfort in knowing it is there. A tiny pocket of our being, no matter how small is always still. Unwavering. Centred. Grounded.
In my experience using the sensation of the body as a tool to access this space is very effective. When we turn our awareness from the stories that run through our thinking mind and settle into feeling our body we can anchor ourselves in the present moment. This helps to break the cycle of our thinking.
When we purely focus on the senstations in the body we are making these neural shifts. As we hear today ‘neurones that fire together wire together’. You could even see this practice as a form of brain training. Strengthening your ability to see these mental narratives for what they really are…stories. They may feel real but they aren’t always true. By improving our ability to see our thoughts we realize that we are not defined by them and there lies the peace, the stillness, the calm that so many of us are seeking these days.
If all this sounds like something that is only available to very experienced meditators then try this simple practice. Take your awareness to your left hand. Using your full attention, scan through your fingers and see if it is possible to detect a sensation in each finger. Now think about the space between your fingers. The palms of your hands. The backs of your hands. The space created in the palm of your hand. Then see if you can widen your awarenss to include the whole of the hand, all at once. Do you notice that as soon as you consciously send your awareness to the hand the stories in the mind cease, you may even feel slightly relaxed? You may be more aware of the sensitivity in the hands, perhaps even a buzzing, tingling sensation.
Short simple practices like this can help us to relax when we are feeling stressed, calm ourselves down when we are feeling anxious and connect us to the stillness that is always present within us.
Want to see how this practice works for you? Find yourself a quiet spot and listen to this short guided meditation designed to help you connect to sensations in the body and settle into your place of stillness.