I often joke with other psychotherapists, meditation and yoga instructors, “We don’t teach this stuff because we’ve mastered it. We teach it because we need it.”
Never has that been truer than it is right now. I have sat down countless times over the last month to write this post. Lots of stuff comes out but it’s not important or coherent or, in the end, very relevant. And I know why that is.
Our external behaviors are simply a reflection of our internal state and my internal state has been a wreck. The election, the rush of the holiday season and some personal challenges and stressors have made me feel chaotic. It is as if there are hundreds of people playing arcade games in my head. It feels like something’s after me and I’m running frantically and there are lots of lights flashing, loud dinging sounds and a background of Waka Waka Waka Waka (think PacMan).
I find myself ruminating, trying to find solutions and then stalled out from the overwhelming, crushing load of it all.
But that’s not the entire story.
In the midst of it all has been my very consistent meditation practice. Everyday I spend 30 minutes sitting and breathing and being consciously aware of my Cerebral Arcade. Some days it makes it stop, at least temporarily. Most days, it has just made me aware of it; aware that this may be present with me throughout my day. I make sure to take better care of myself on those days and sometimes “better care” just looks like remembering to take a few deep breaths and to come into the present moment and out of my head.
So, in the end, this is what I decided to say to you all this month:
All traditions tell us to do this; to come away from the rush and the craziness and just be still.
“Be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10
“Yoga citta vrtti nirodhah” Yoga Sutras 1:2 (Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind)
“Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.” Lao Tzu
“Silence is a fence around wisdom.” Talmud
“Listen in silence because if your heart is filled with other things you cannot hear the voice of God.” Mother Teressa
“Stillness is the alter of the spirit.” Paramahansa Yogananda