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Getting Still #3 – Stilling your thoughts

March 10th, 2007 · 6 Comments

To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders
Chuang Tzu

To get really still is to have a much better chance of really connecting with what matters…
Give_me_a_break

We’ve been talking about getting physically still – as Verna put it – Quality Sofa Time… but often even as we sit still, our mind continues it’s merry gallop – racing through the paddocks of our mind, creating stress, havock and chaos wherever it visits.

Sometimes it’s our mind that needs to get still. And often, the best way to do this is to get active.

For me, and for quite a few people I talk to – meditation by sitting and clearing the mind is very, very difficult… and I find that I can gain a better result with a moving meditation where my body is active (added benefit there:) and my mind has to be calm.

A few years ago, my husband found he could manage his stress levels (which were extremely high, and manifesting in physical symptoms) by taking up horse riding. Horse riding is all about your body in relationship to the horse, and if you’re not relaxed, then the horse won’t do what you want it to do. It’s a real exercise in moving meditation and relaxation. You get instant bio-feedback from the horse when your mind starts to wander and fill with thoughts, or when you’re a little uptight or anxious.

Friesian_in_a_daisy_field
There are other activities and sports like this – I find playing the piano (or any musical instrument) is very conducive to relaxing and calming my mind. As is the hypnotic click, click of knitting needles…

Although I am not a golf player, I believe it is a lot like this – if you’re mind is elsewhere the ball won’t go where you want it to. In fact, in any of the sports where accuracy is the aim – like trap shooting, archery, etc., if your mind is worrying away about something, you’ll miss the target. Very simple feedback mechanism on the state of your relaxation!

The Clearing Space Challenge

Do you find that your mind feels like it’s about to burst at the seams?  Is sitting still and chilling out making you even more stressed because your mind starts to do it’s anxiety dance?

What activity do you love, or could you start doing, that insists upon a clearness of mind? Something that will help you relax and destress, while your body is active? 

Please leave a comment below and share with us what it is you do to get still in your mind. We’d love to hear from you!

Related Posts:
On a clear day you can see forever
Top reasons to not live you life at 100mph. Getting Still #1
Getting Still #2 – Addicted to Adrenaline

Tags: Getting Still · Heart and Home · Resourcing for Women Who Do Too Much

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Verna Wilder // Mar 10, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Several years ago I was working for a large corporation and I knew there were going to be layoffs, and I was pretty sure my position would be cut. I couldn’t find any way to still my monkey mind, so I went to a movie. For two hours I was completely caught up in another world, and when I came out of the theater, I felt calmer and was no longer obsessing about what to do. I know — going to the movies is an extreme measure, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! I jest, but it works for me.

  • 2 Steve Sherlock // Mar 10, 2007 at 11:10 am

    After working 12 days in a row, I took the train home today and just listened to my iPod. No book, no magazine. Just quiet music and some gentle shut eye (not sleeping) just letting multiple events of the work week rollover and pass by. I was much more relaxed when I got home than when I left the office.

    The other release that works well for me is running. I guess it functions a lot like the horseback riding experience you mention your husband does. You have to be ‘into your body’ and its movement in order to get from A to B. If your mind deviates from this, your foot will find a curb or tripping point somewhere. Assuming you don’t, then at the end of the run, you are refreshed.

  • 3 Karen Wallace // Mar 10, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Verna – thanks so much for joining in. Yes, I think that movies (while not exactly a physical experience) can definitely help us calm that monkey mind… I remember seeing Love Actually by myself during the day (totally out of character for me) to help calm my mind from a particularly intense worry. What matters is that it works!!

    Steve – Thanks for chiming in. We are definitely kindred spirits in our love of music! I’m curious to know what music it was you were listening to on that journey home today.

    I’m sure Dolores appreciated the calmer Steve that walked in the door – thank goodness for iPods!

  • 4 Leah Maclean // Mar 12, 2007 at 8:46 am

    I find a different type of horse-power to be a moving meditation – motorcycle riding. When the helmet goes on the only thing I am focused on is the bike, the road and the space around me. I become one with the machine and the air. Winding roads are definitely better for this type of focused space than straight highways.

    The other place for me to still the mind is by the ocean’s edge or in the water. Again being completely focused on something else (the water) allows my busy mind to stop.

  • 5 Karen Wallace // Mar 12, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Leah,
    I agree about the ocean – absolutely that is one of my favourite places to be – especially sitting on the rocks and watching the waves pound into the shore…

    I can see the similarities with motorcycle riding – I’ve only ever ridden passenger myself, but even that was a total blast (first boyfriend, dark night, deserted road…) I can understand how that would clear the mind of everything but the present!

    Thanks for joining in – this is getting really interesting!

  • 6 Working Solo // Mar 28, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Carnival of Entrepreneurs 16th Edition

    The Carnival of Entrepreneurs has travelled halfway around the world and landed in Australia (it is around 19385 kms from Montreal to Sydney).
    Highlights
    The highlighted posts this week were actually inspired by Wayne Hurlberts post on politene…

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