How to Find Stillness – and Relax Body and Soul

 

Stillness is a beautiful word. It conjures up images of a relaxed body, a peaceful mind, and silence. We all want peacefulness – but it can be difficult to find true rest and stillness within a busy life. Here are some tips and exercises that will help you to find rest and relaxation for your body and soul.

The body at rest

Check in with your body. Are you relaxed?

Choose a tight part of your body, close your eyes, and relax this particular part of your body more and more with each out-breath.

The peaceful mind

When the mind is at rest, we feel peaceful. In our everyday life, it’s difficult to remain undisturbed. There are so many things that can disturb the mind.

Forest pool. Imagine a still forest pool, reflecting all the trees and plants around. When a puff of wind ruffles the surface, wavelets disturb the surface and the reflections disappear. But when the wind dies down, the surface of the water settles down. And soon the water is still again.

What I suggest to you is to see what happens if you eliminate at least some of the factors that disturb your mind.

  • Do you get stirred up by reading newspapers or watching the news on TV or on the Net?
  • Do you feel tense up when you spend time with certain people?
  • Do certain activities agitate you?

Spend a moment to think about how you could eliminate some of these factors. You’ll see in the exercise section that I’m asking you to go on a kind of a diet today. A diet that allows you to taste stillness, instead ofbusiness.

Silence

Noise is a stress factor. If you live in a big city, you are constantly bombarded with noise. We also add to the constant assault of sounds through listening to the radio or TV, playing music, and so on.

Stillness can heal. But it can be scary because we are used to coveringour loneliness or our lack of communication by filling our life with sounds.

Silence also means not speaking. A lot of what we say each day is just a ‘silence-filler’. You may find that a smile will do instead. It’s an interesting experiment to be as silent as possible mdash; even just for one day.

Traditional Zen retreats are held in silence. Anyone who has participated in such a retreat will know that this silence is powerful. All too often, words get in the way of being present. Stillness is something very precious. My experience of meditation is that it creates islands of stillness. Please look at the reading and check out the exercises for today.

It would be lovely to hear your voice in the forum today!

EXERCISES

1. Relaxation

You can do this exercise just before going to sleep. If you do it during the day, you might like to set an alarm clock. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie down and cover yourself to stay warm
  • Start at your feet, placing your attention there and saying to yourself, “My feet are warm and heavy.”
  • Move slowly up your body, imagining that each part is warm and heavy.

2. Inner Silence

Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing. Just notice sounds, sights, smells, and so on. Let go of planning thoughts or other distractions. This is a way to cultivate inner silence.

3. Outer Silence

  • Eliminate background music.
  • Only play music if you can listen to it with full attention. Just try silence for one day and see what it’s like.
  • Turn the TV or radio off if you are not attending to it or are doing something else as well.In many households the TV is blaring, even though nobody is watching it. Try turning it off as much as possible and see what happens.
  • Only speak when necessary.

What is your experience with stillness? What are your special tips for relaxation?

Please share in the comments.

About the author

Mary Jaksch

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