Pause. Stop. Take a breath. Be here now.
The hardest thing to do, and the only thing to do. Really, when you think about it.
And yet, our thinking often gets in the way. I know in my life, when I start believing my own thoughts and the pressure they create too much, is the moment when things start going haywire.
I feel stressed, I feel run down, I feel less connected to what is actually happening versus what I think should be happening, I should be doing etcetera. And even though those things might seem very important, it hardly ever is any fun to be in that state of internal pressure.
Sure, there is the good pressure; the force that drives you on, towards achieving your goals. The limited stress that actually feels good, when it leads you to achieve something that you wanted. And you feel good afterwards. Tired, sure. But not run down. I am not talking about that pressure.
I am talking about the ratrace we continue to create in our own heads. The kind that always has us running. Forward. And not be here now.
One of the most influential things I have learned on my path is the art of pausing.
You can go meditate for hours on end or do a bunch of yoga classes. But what I have found is that you do not really need all that, if you master the art of pausing. Any moment in any day, you can just press the internal pause button in your head, drop your thoughts and be here now.
In this moment, with its exquisite intensity and intimacy. Use your senses, look around, feel the air against your skin, notice what you notice. Drop into life and your experience of it.
For me, pausing has been the practice that gradually got me out of the loop of racing thoughts (I used to press that button a gazillion times a day) and slowly, slowly dropped me more into the moment.
Meditation has not done that (’cause, you know, I have a really stubborn mind), yoga has not done that (you can do a yoga class perfectly well with a racing mind).
Learning to notice when my thoughts are racing and pressing the short and sweet pause button has done that.
And that has helped me with my meditation, and my yoga (not the other way around). It is like the skill before the other skills: training my mind and practising my awareness in little bits on a daily basis, whenever I notice I am lost in my head.
I use it to check in when I am checked out. To say hi to here and now.
And I will forget. And then I will remember. It is like the sense of humour of life; the forgetting and then “ooo!” remembering the simplest thing: just to pause.
Try it. And see you life getting a little sweeter day by day.
PS: a huge inspiration for this practice has been this book by Tara Brach.