A few (well, maybe more!) years ago, we started to create and put a lot of emphasis on some phrases related to the ancient science of Yoga. 1. Moments to Pause 2. Happiness Prescription and 3. Presence Is A Present. Slowly, these became the backbone for most of our articles and often the seed that bloomed into creative workshop ideas. We felt that they were easy to comprehend and much needed by society as a whole.
If you watered the vast philosophy of Yoga down to a sentence, it could possibly be translated as ‘ways to be present in each moment of now’.
And to be present requires a few things; namely 1-3 above. We have to pause, to give space to empty out of all the noise and motion of ‘doing’. Distractions feed the ever-ravenous mind and draws our attention outward, away from centre. When distracted, we act out of habit, or reaction, rather than intention and conscious will.
Being constantly distracted by working, sleeping, eating, multitasking and all the things/ways we need to ‘do’ and ‘appear to be’, prevent us from feeling who, what and how we are. So moments to pause are necessary; methods include meditation (which can be moving; dance, yogasana, walking in nature, tai chi etc.).
At present, the whole world has been required to pause, Life as we know it has stopped a while. And what do you notice straight away? It’s likely there is some resistance; small or large.
Resistance bubbles to surface as fear, anger, frustration, anxiety; a desire to do something that avoids the sinking in or falling inward. Because to stop and just ‘be’ means the chaos of the mind is heard. And to pause and allow time, means questions will arise; what have I been doing with my life? How did I get here? Who am I? Beyond my job, my family and my name? What is my purpose?
You only have to visit Instagram or Facebook to see the world can’t cope with downtime.
There is great resistance to pausing.
Inboxes full of online offerings.
People taping themselves speaking to cyber space, to their ‘followers’; more ego pampering.
Long suggestions of what to buy, do or see while on ‘lockdown’.
Incidentally, ancient and modern seekers or yogis would term this period a ‘retreat’ and they would advise that the best, most nourishing thing you can do is to drop external distractions as much as possible. Set a regular day away from the technology. To tap into the inner space. That is where the healing and all the answers you seek, lie. Inside.
Right now, people are hungry for attention, escapism or an iota of ‘normality’. People can not cope with the silence, or the stores closure, or the absence of large gatherings. Because people have lost the ability to sit with self.
They can’t stop. Because they don’t know how.
For the majority, this will be the first moment since childhood that they have to pause, without consumption or any mental satisfaction, and truly be in the moment.
And resistance will show up.
Take a Moment To Pause.
Seek out the resistance.
Because resistance is a doorway.
Here is where the Happiness Prescription is needed.
The mind is like a rat (at Ganesha’s feet); non-stop, always moving, chitter chatter, that voice ever-present in the background. A natural inner critic and commander-in-chief. Steering the collective ‘i’ toward a more self-centered ‘I’. And the voice becomes louder when we pause.
Likely, in these moments of downtime, offline and disconnect from normality, the mind will shout out all the things you are not, or the mistakes you’ve made. So much negativity. All the parts you’ve run away from.
So, how to cope? You have to self-medicate with happiness. Here is where modern versions of retraining or rewiring the brain come into play; gratitude diaries, happiness planners, affirmations, visualisation and dream boards, goals etc.
Meditation is key. It’s a way of providing space and emptying out the inner container. Of letting thoughts run their course, and finding the calm underneath it all.
It’s a realisation that the mind is vast. That thoughts pass like clouds above. Weather changes, but the rains always dry and the sun always sets.
Letting it all arise. Letting it all settle.
Allowing emptiness to form.
You can maybe see, why now in a world intent on ‘filling up’ time, space and our general wellbeing, that meditation is seen as such a difficult task.
And why collectively there is this snowball of activity now, when we are being asked to pause.
With meditation, breath then rinses the inner space; allowing the residues to be washed away and released.
We move from heaviness.
And we realise that all we feared; questions of identity, realisation of loss or failure, our ego-based actions or desires…are actually gifts.
Because each now is a moment to create our lives.
Each moment is a new beginning.
To consciously craft our lives.
Our own individual path.
Creating Twombly or Kahlo or Da Vinci worthy pieces of art, called life.
By actually, knowing, understanding and living from THIS moment.
Here is where we realise Presence Is A Present.
It’s not easy. In fact, it’s the most arduous journey you’ll ever encounter.
But it is the most rewarding.
So when you find resistance, lean into it. And let it shift.
Move from the heavy.
With unbounded love for each and every being; the only tools we need are to set down all the material and start gathering up the wisdom from inside.
And that’s not all pink, fluffy clouds.
It’s hard work. It requires dedication and honesty.
But, truly, it will get us through the times ahead.
When nothing makes sense and there is loss of life in more ways than one.
The struggle is real.
But we were gifted the tools of presence.
Use this time to take a step back. Look in.