The first month of this new year is already gone. Where did it go? We just welcomed the new year. Most people I meet seem to be experiencing the feeling, and stress that goes with it, that time is passing by too fast. It is time to slow down. But how?
I grew up in a small town in the north of Chile and I remember when time seemed to pass by so slow. There was no rush to get anywhere, no big aspirations, life was simple, and at times it felt as if life was still for a moment. I lived with my grandfather for a year when I was six years old and after our big meal at noon time, he would have my sister and I sit outdoors in the soft sun in front of a beautiful garden. We didn’t have any toys in that space and we did what he told us, to just sit and be. Little did he know that he was teaching us mindfulness and how to be present.
In mindfulness we learn that we can experience deep joy when our mind can become still for a moment. In that stillness we can let go of all our thoughts, fears, and worries, nothing seems to be a concern, time slows down. I teach a Yoga Nidra class that invites participants to lay down on a yoga mat and be still for 45 minutes while they go on a journey that can lead them to deep stillness. Some people have reported beautiful experiences and healing while on that journey. Most importantly, they feel deeply calm and peaceful.
In modern times we are very distracted with many different things and change has accelerated. It is predicted that changes in technology will continue to accelerate exponentially. What would that do to us, to our minds and to our ability to experience the present moment and find joy in the simple things? I love the new technology, learning about it and using it in my work and daily life. However, I must be cautious to how much it distracts me from what is really important and what matters most.
Levels of stress, anxiety and life dissatisfaction are increasing along with a decline on our health and levels of happiness. Becoming aware of this is the first step in making changes to reverse the negative effects of this acceleration. Recognizing that stillness will not be found in the outside world. I can only be created from within.
One simple action you can take to slow down can be to be aware of our breath several times throughout the day, after all we take about 23,000 breaths every 24 hours. How often are you aware that you are breathing? Awareness of it will not consume more time or energy. By the contrary it will give you a sense that there is more time available and it will energize you. Breath breaths itself, you are not making it happen, but you have to make the choice to be aware of it. You can aware of your breath while you are driving, working, cooking, showering, walking, gardening, eating, etc. This simple activity will slow you down and you will be able to enjoy your activities more. Just notice the breath without changing it in any way. One breath in, one breath out …… 22, 999 more to go.
You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to begin awareness of breath, you can start right now and find stillness inside your heart. You deserve it.