Read the title of this post again. What do you believe about your ability to do that? It’s a great place to start as our beliefs will lead us to an outcome.
Because you are reading this post, I am going to venture to think that something about this idea is intriguing to you.
*What does quieting the fluctuations of the mind mean to you?
*What is possible for you when you do? What is it costing you when you don’t?
It is a practice I have been living and observing for many years. And it IS a practice. Without end. You get better at it each day, and some days you are better at it than others.
In my recent studies of the Yoga Sutras of Patangali I have been focused on this Sutra:
Yoga Citta Vritti Nirodhah which is translated to Yoga, meaning union, or oneness/Citta which is your thoughts/Vritti are the fluctuations in your mind/thoughts/Nirodhah, the restrictions, what holds you back.
The practice of yoga, breathing and meditation can lead you to calm your thoughts, and on some days or someday to still them. Practicing each day, says Davidji (meditation teacher and author of The Secrets of Meditation), we can start to access the space between or thoughts, words and actions. We can become unconditioned.
All of those times we react to something, we are operating out of our conditioning without clear thought. On autopilot. That is why, I believe, so many of us second guess and beat ourselves up. We don’t give ourselves the time and opportunity to act authentically. To act in a way that truly represents who we are, how we want to show up in the world.
Whatever age you are now, you took that many years to develop into who you are. (Which is all good!) Luckily for us, it will not take that long to begin to see the changes we would like to make through our practice. Things like becoming a better partner, mom, dad, etc, clearer thinking and problem solving, feeling more fulfilled in all endeavors of your life, a higher appreciation of beauty, being more responsive and less reactive, more purposeful, more compassion- these are the gifts we are graced with through our practicing of yoga citta vritti nirodhah. When you stop identifying with your thoughts, fluctuations of mind, then there is yoga- identity with your highest self.
My favorite way to do this is just to sit- one minute or sixty- and focus on breath. I used to have one of the wildest minds I know. It is a practice and discipline to focus, and you will become unfocused many times even in a minute! You just keep bringing yourself back to the breath. This, in itself, is a practice in not beating up on yourself. There is no judgement, you are not doing anything wrong, it is perfectly normal for all of us to lose track of our breath as our minds wander. Just notice and bring it back. That’s the magic. Noticing. Coming back.
At some point you will begin to notice the space between your breaths. This is so purely presence. It is not the past, the last breath, or the future, the next, it just is. Noticing this is a great way to bring clarity and calm into your experience. One thing I have learned from Davidji is to notice where the breath enters me, where do I feel it? Focusing on that also gives me a way to calm thoughts. One of my teachers, Sofi, has us focus on even inhales and exhales while in yoga class- moving meditation. I can not be distracted in my thinking while focusing on even inhales and exhales. Try it to see what your experience is.
I notice for myself, that I am not perfect and I am always moving forward. My practice has illuminated many things. The space is such a gift. Being thoughtful and if you are in business, being strategic, is a requirement for excellence. Working with these principals can lead you in that direction in a very powerful and grounding way.