Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Silent Treatment

When is the last time you gave yourself the "silent" treatment?

Is there ever a moment in any given day where you just stop and sit in order to clear your head?

In the teachings of the Buddha he observed ‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch and lets it go only to seize another, so too, that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continually both day and night.’

I frequently tell people that my mind can be a dangerous neighborhood to walk around in. I've always been deliberate about taking silent retreats to get away from the confusion of life. It would always be great for that brief amount of time, but then I would return to "normal" life and straight back into the incessant chaos swirling around my head. I would muse over how amazing I felt when I was on retreat and why oh why can't I find that in my everyday routine. Well, that's just it, I wasn't making silence part of my routine. Taking the time every day to be silent produces incredible results. Not just verbal silence but mental silence. Finding that still place daily is a significant step toward success and your general ability to get things done! There is a rhythm and flow that occur when you give yourself the "silent" treatment routinely!

You may try to convince yourself that work is work and life is life, but there is no distinction of that in your head. In the middle of a meeting you may mentally wander to what's for dinner, wondering if your child felt better after you dropped them off at school that morning, are you going to get a raise as promised, is your phone call later today to that vendor going to go well, is your new client going to take way more time than the investment they are making.............I need to mow the grass, I need to take that webinar on Tuesday, did I take my meds?......did I mail my Mother's birthday card?........could this meeting PLEASE get to the point.......

Before you know it you have completely lost control over what's going on in there. Right then, as soon as you extricate yourself from whatever is going on at the time, it would improve immediately if you would step away and clear it out.

I have recently embraced meditation. I had dabbled in it off and on over the years with varying degrees of acceptance or cynicism depending on my stage at the time. This time I decided I would make it a habit and I have been blown away by the results. Every morning before I start my work day, I just sit quietly and clear everything out. It's remarkable and I don't see myself ever falling back on the habit.

Finding the Sounds of Silence!!
Start small; two to five minutes.
Find a place with No distractions. A quiet room, your car, a bench outside.....
Sit comfortably.
Close your eyes, breathe and focus intently on empty space.
The minute the "head talk" starts, shut it down.

It will be difficult at first. Keep at it! Some days will be easier than others so the routine is important.
Make this a non-negotiable habit EVERY day.

You are NOT Required.....
To sit on the floor in a full lotus position with your hands on your knees, to light candles and burn incense, hum or know, the stuff that some would have you associate with meditation. You don't even have to call it that. Just HUSH!!!

What happens??
Your breathing slows down.
You relax.
When you open your eyes you feel rested and refreshed.
Your concentration is improved.
There is a rhythm to your day.
You are likely to feel more happy, generous and kind.
Things seem easier even when they are challenging.

Once you have the routine down and know what to expect, you can use it to your advantage at other points during your day when you feel overwhelmed. The practice will instantly put you back on track after whatever challenge you have just experienced. You don't have to take my word for it there is a massive amount of research and science to back up the power of quieting your mind. My experience is that the habit is worth the effort. The results are unquestionable. Make time to take time and clean up the mental "neighborhood"!!