“The quieter you become, the more you can hear” – Ram Dass
Silence is medicine. Silence and its companion, stillness, instantly bring us back to ourselves. Focusing our awareness on the present moment often shows us how tightly we’ve wound ourselves and gives us the opportunity to simply let go. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by stimuli – music, images, electronic devices, the addiction of social media and instant gratification, the temptation to constantly create who we are by our words, photos, posts, tweets, emails and texts can be exhausting.
When we unplug and allow ourselves to simply stop, even for just a few minutes, we begin to connect with our own wholeness within. We experience the gift of remembering, that at our core, we are not required to do, say or achieve anything in order to be worthy. We are already and always have been magnificent beings. And in a moment of stillness we have the capacity to soften into self-compassion, which is the doorway to easing up on others, being less reactive and treating those around us with compassion and love.
I have noticed recently as I’ve practiced slowing down and being compassionate with myself and my own natural rhythms, that simply allowing myself space in my day can come with a lot of guilt. We live in a world that externally validates business, striving and action. I noticed that I was often speeding up and trying to do more things faster as a way to feel good about myself and have others feel good about me too. But at some point this becomes an energetic pitfall, as I found I could never do enough to get to that place where I’d allow myself to stop and be peaceful and rest. One of my favorite teachers, Brene Brown, says that we wear our exhaustion from hustling to be worthy like a badge of honor.
Recently I was taking a slow hike up the Sanitas trail in Boulder. It’s a steep and rocky climb with some tremendously beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, meadows and town. I noticed that as I put my attention on savoring the sights, smells, and feel of the wind on my skin, that I kept getting passed by runners with earphones on, all of them with a slightly glazy look in their eyes. And I felt a little sad that they were caught up in their own experience of whatever their playlist was creating for them. I wanted to share the experience of the forest with them – the little animals I noticed, the different colors of the moss on the rocks, the small flowers and different grasses on the hillside.
Sometimes it’s challenging to simply be in the stillness with yourself. But when you do unplug, inevitably there is the opportunity to realize that you are not alone, that you are connected in a very deep way to the universe and all living things.
I invite you right now to place your hand on your heart, close your eyes and simply breath and notice the beating of your own internal rhythm for 3 minutes. Then open your eyes and come back to the world refreshed and grounded.