LL Forum 2014

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Tahlia Newland

Stop

How often do you stop? Really stop? Stop so that your mind is still, stable in the moment without reaching forward to what you're planning to do next, or roaming over something that happened in the past? If you're like most people, the answer is probably, rarely or even never. Our minds tend to constantly whirl ahead of where we are, perhaps to the next thing on your 'to do list,' the date you're planning for saturday night, or the destination of your journey. Even when we think our minds are still, there's often a subtle reaching towards the next moment.

What,you may ask, is the problem with that?

The problem when we never really stop is that we exhaust ourselves. We may rest our body, but if our mind continues to race on, we are living our lives at a relentless pace. How many of those with chronic fatigue syndrome ever actually give their minds a chance to simply STOP? How would their energy improve if they did? I don't have access to any research on this, but it's logical to assume that they would feel the same benefit I do from allowing my mind to rest. Deep relaxation can only occur when the mind stops reaching for the future.

A few months ago, my doctor told me that I had a hyper active thyroid. She wanted to put me on tablets, but decided to do a second blood test first to confirm the levels first. It didn't take much self checking to realize how speedy my body felt. I could literally feel the hyperactivity buzzing in my cells. It was no wonder I had trouble sleeping. Luckily, I had also experienced living with a mind that didn't always race ahead. I had experienced long periods of meditation without that frantic energy in my body. I knew how to cut through the cycle of activity that I'd set up.

I put the blood test off for three weeks while I concentrated on stopping. I did a lot of meditation, felt my mind and body relax on a very deep level, and when I had the blood test, my doctor was amazed at the results. 'There's no sign of the hyperactivity,' she said.

That's just one example of the kind of strain that constant mental activity can have on our bodies, and the huge difference cutting through that activity can have. The health benefits of meditation have been very well documented, but knowing that isn't necessarily enough motivation for people to begin regular practice. If you’re in that category, then instead of thinking, 'oh I really should do some meditation', you could just practice stopping once a day, or at the start of every meal, or every hour, or however you want to remind yourself.

 

The best way to stop your mind is to simply drop it, like a rock thrown into a pool. Just let it go. You can take a deep breath and when you breath out, just drop your thoughts. Then don't stir the thoughts up again, just leave whatever arises to settle naturally, like mud on the bottom of a pool.

You don't have to stay in that state for a long time. The point is to cut through your normal mental machinations and totally stop for an instant. If you can do that even once a day, it will have a positive affect in your mental and physical health. The more often you can do it, the more relaxed and happy you will feel. All those things that are worrying you, if you can forget them completely for an instant, even if they come back again, you will have loosened their grip on your mind.

So what are you waiting for? Just drop it.

NOW

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