Each morning, I begin my daily practice in exactly the same way. I sit. I literally just sit. I breathe. I look out the window. I might sip hot water. But basically, I sit and do nothing as I allow myself to be exactly as I am. Whatever that might be. Sad. Unwell. Frustrated. Inspired. None of it matters as I do the most profound thing I will do all day; sit and do nothing.
What would possess a person to do nothing?
The discovery that when all the mud settles, the mud being the difficult and troubling thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations threatening to take over, a sense of spaciousness washes over me; creating enough space for me to see, clearly and effortlessly, what is real and what is true.
From this spaciousness, a greater connection to my body and its truths becomes available to me. This means that any problem I have, any solution I am seeking, or any balm needed for my broken heart or suffering body, is there. Always.
I first discovered this practice when my mind would kick into high gear in an absolute frenzy over everything I needed and wanted to get done after my kids had gone off to school. My mind hounded me about how much I had to do and in what order, how fast, and how well. It was maddening. So much so that I couldn’t settle into yoga or meditation because the demands of my mind were that intense.
Initially I sat, doing nothing, in protest. It was my way of saying to the thoughts, I want out. I am not playing anymore. I will not negotiate with you.
And then, at some point, what began as an exasperated refusal to participate with an agitated mind, turned into a portal transporting me to a whole new universe I didn’t even know was accessible with so little effort. It turns out, I didn’t need to hack my way into the ease and peace I was seeking. It was already there.
Letting the mud settle does take time and some getting used to. Some days, it only takes a few minutes for everything to settle down. Other days, it takes a lot longer. But even on the days my mind pushes me to get going, to do something for god’s sake, I know better now. I know that in doing nothing, everything I have ever hoped for will show up when given the space it needs.
So sit back. Keep your feet on the Earth. Feel the warmth of the sun or the coolness of the air. Let your breath be where you put your attention. Breathe in a way that allows your body to be big enough to include all of what you are experiencing in this moment.
Think of a candle melting and allow yourself to flow down in the same way. Follow that image over and over and over again until you feel weighted in a pleasant and settled way. When you feel like the mud has settled, even a little bit, notice what reveals itself to you by way of what is real and true in your body in this moment.
A little caveat. To the busy, stressed out, divided, and fear-based mind this practice can feel like a death. It is. But it’s only the death of things that needs to go anyway. The death of anything you would be better off without; like all the ways that your mind is unfair and unkind to your body as you unnecessarily fret over imagined problems. So when the mind screams and screams and starts rolling out all the heavy artillery around what a slacker-loser you are for not doing more, nod your head and continue to sit, knowing that when all the mud settles out, you will be left at home in your own body.
This blog was excerpted from my book Trusting Your Body: The Embodied Journey of Claiming Sacred Responsibility for Your Health & Well-Being
If you are interested in purchasing the book from a site that donates to local book stores, please go to: Bookshop.org
Otherwise, it can also be purchased on Amazon