“We tend to be busy all day, and when we come home we continue to be busy. We cook; we clean; and we putter around. Or we are so tired of being busy that we want to do something mindless and easy, like watching a television show, or taking a nap. Then, we go back to being busy again.
There is a way to feel refreshed and alert without being busy. All we need is a gentle reminder – a location, an image, or a sound – to help us return home to ourselves and pay attention to what is there inside us and around us. We can touch the present moment in all its fullness and joy if we simply have a place, and a way, to stop. Stopping the random progression of thoughts is the first step in our meditation practice.
The key to creating a home meditation practice is to create a space where the busyness stops. When we stop and bring our mind back to our body, we can pay full attention to all that is happening in the present moment. We call this “mindfulness.” To be mindful means to be here, fully present, and fully alive, unencumbered by thoughts of the past or the future, our worries, or our projects. It is only when we stop that we can encounter life. When we stop, body and mind can reunite and then we can experience their oneness.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
I am definitely guilty of the aggrandizement of busyness. I literally run from teaching yoga to teaching voice lessons every day. I race from place to place with barely the time to have a sip of water or eat lunch. When I’m not teaching, I’m practicing, rehearsing, researching, or going home to prepare for the following day. Then I sleep (hopefully) and start the process all over again. I often find myself addicted to this life of busyness. If you take away my to-do list, I will somehow come up with other things to do, create, and achieve. I’m hooked on productivity. Usually, I see this as a positive thing. I am constantly striving towards self-betterment and moving towards my many goals and aspirations. My busy work isn’t useless shuffling about. It is work that teaches me things or helps me to create. But, sometimes, my brain and my body need a break from the incessant busyness. Sometimes I just need to stop, not look at the clock for a full day, and just be. Free from deadlines, work, and mental stimulation, I can let my mind simmer down to at least a dull hum. While my body becomes bored and ansy, my brain expresses its thanks for the much-needed silence. So, rather than complaining about my canceled plans and the day spent hermiting, I give thanks for a day of rest, rejuvenation, and relief. Tomorrow I’ll be back to my frantic and frenetic energy level; but today I’m enjoying these moments of nothingness. (At least I’m trying to.) Singing bowl, singing soul.