Silence the mind

In today’s age, stress slithers in like a thief. It drains energy, messes up our thinking, darkens our moods and revs up our levels of anxiety and fear. But practicing stillness stops stress from deepening and then gradually displaces it by occupying its space.

Stillness does not make us dysfunctional. It quietens only the over-thinking part of the mind, allowing it to function freely and more efficiently. Numbness is not stillness, it is only suppressed suffering. Stillness is entering a soothing calm state, which has a quality of vigour and clarity to it. To still the mind needs continual practice, a willingness to accept the different, even radical points of view.

Say, I believe only in allopathic medication. My friend tells me he is seeking homeopathic treatment. My first instinct is to sneer at this ‘alternative’ approach. And I say something offensive about his selection. Here is what happens: My sneer has already caused a turmoil in my brain. Simultaneously, my words enter his ears and his brain begins to boil because of my offensive tone. There cannot be stillness where there are conflictive words and emotions.

There can only be stress. Even if my friend takes my scathing retort good-humouredly, I am still agitated, fuming at his ‘stupidity’, at his ‘inability to see sense.’ This is a breeding ground for anger, depression, anxiety and fear. In all likelihood, I do not sleep well because I’m upset at my friend’s ‘irrational’ choice. Negativity has the last laugh.

Can we shift from stress to stillness? Yes. Just stop thinking right where you are. Give yourself the uncommon experience of being aimless, defenceless, open, ego-free, passive, unoccupied, unprejudiced, having no preferences, no motives…Ah! It’s a luxury not to be a slave to your thoughts.

Your breathing becomes slow, deep, pure. Serenity ripples all around you. If thoughts arise, allow them to drift by like strangers walking past you. The body is relaxed. The mind is silent. The whole existence shimmers in silence.

In stillness, complicated emotions get disentangled. A great knowing descends: that whatever happened had to happen — the spirit sighs out its acceptance and allows itself to let go of all that it was holding on to. Nerves unclench. Memories are released and they flow away into the emptiness where they truly belong. It’s okay to have neither good nor bad memories because something becomes more balanced and harmonised inside.

There’s a new coherence in the senses, a new fluidity in the system. The spine freed of rigid viewpoints feels like flexible rubber, the sudden loss of interest in judging others, in conflicts creates a great lightness in the stomach as if a huge burdensome mass has abruptly dropped off. The New Year is, indeed, the ideal time to shed our stressful thinking ways. Once shed, it’s like being weightless in water where even gravity cannot pull you down. A paper boat on the stream of life sailing with serene confidence into the year…
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