While attending my favorite weekly yoga session we laid down for our guided meditation. This is my favorite part of the session, mostly because it is 95% laying down not moving, but also because it is the most challenging for me. It is not an easy task for me lye still, be completely silent, and keep my mind empty. I struggle with this every class, but I have found myself getting better at quieting my thoughts during the meditation.
As with all things yoga, it comes with practice, but there will be better days than others. On a day when I am stressed, with many things on my mind, it seems almost impossible to clear. What I have noticed, is how interesting the things that will pop into your mind during silence are.
When our minds are left to wander, they find places we never thought they would. Sometimes this is a positive place, you may find an inner strength, or solve a problem, or remember a fond memory from long ago. Sometimes, and for some of us more often, the mind finds a negative place to rest. It is difficult to identify that this is happening, because to our conscious mind thoughts usually just seem like thoughts. That what emerges into our brain is simply there. It wasn’t until I heard my teacher say something that I had a revelation.
I was lying on my mat, relaxing my entire body, trying to relax my mind. After a few days with their share of stress and problems, it wasn’t the easiest task. It seemed that as soon as my mind began to wander, my teacher would remind us:
“If you feel your mind wander, focus on your breath.”
She says this quite often, which is good because I usually always catch myself. Today she said this a few times and then said something different.
“Don’t let your mind think negative things about yourself. Focus on the breath.”
It was in this yoga class that I shed a few small tears. Thankfully it was dark.
A few moments before my teacher had said those words, I had been thinking some lesser than nice things about myself. It was then that I realized the loudness of my silence. In silence, my mind (like many minds) wanders to a negative place. I hadn’t realized that until I was lying on my mat with my eyes closed trying to remember a good place my mind had wandered at yoga and failed to recall one.
“This is silly.” I thought to myself.
I was letting my brain fill any empty space, any silence with negativity without realizing. I was self-criticising in my down time. Ludacris.
I learned an important lesson on self-awareness last night. I learned that we can learn a lot about ourselves in silence. I learned that silence can be louder than noise. I learned that the quieter you become, the more you can hear. So pay attention to your mind in silence, and don’t let it wander into negative places. If you feel it drifting away just take a few deep breaths and focus on the cool inhale and the warm exhale. Focus on how your belly expands on the inhale and releases on the exhale. Focus on the feeling of your lungs filling, rejuvenating your body, and the feeling of everything bad leaving your body as you exhale. Focus on your breath, and let there be quiet silence.