I woke up one Tuesday morning feeling cold, sensing a stuffiness in my nose and not feeling my usual self. This was the day just after Diwali.
The earlier day had been quite busy and fun, cooking and spending time with the extended family who had spent the day with us.
As the day progressed I started feeling more sick, had pain all over my body and fever had set in too. I decided to do the home test for Covid and sure enough the test turned out positive!!
So finally after 3 years of successfully dodging the big C, I had succumbed to it!
Surrendering to give mind and body a rest
After the initial disappointment of canceling some important work that I had committed to in that week, I surrendered to the virus and let my mind and body rest.
While my head throbbed and every part of my body ached, I went through bouts of deep sleep. I slept like I hadn’t slept in months. It seemed like I got transported to a different world; or even a different universe! This continued for 3 days, waking up only to eat small meals.
Towards the end of the third day, suddenly, the body seemed like getting its energy back. I experienced a calmness in my mind. Calmness resulting from a quiet, uncluttered space.
Calmness that happened because I went through a long phase of Stillness!
The three days of deep sleep and rest and total detachment from everything else around me was a great experience of Stillness. I was reminded of the many moments of Stillness I had experienced during my Vipassana meditation, some years back.
Before the illness, I had been wanting to pen down some thoughts on certain work topics for long; and had kept postponing due to lack of time. All those thoughts seemed crisp and clear now; and just poured out! Without wasting any time, I wrote them down.
Within a span of two hours, I managed to do productive work, which I would typically have taken a full day or more to do.
As I pondered on this experience to make some meaning of it, the below mentioned reflections emerged.
My reflections and learning
The last few months had been particularly exhausting for me, both physically and mentally; managing home and work. The physical tiredness in the body lowered my immunity and I fell prey to the virus.
However, once I succumbed, whatever happened gave me some strong messages.
- As I fully surrendered to the virus and allowed my body and mind to rest, I started to heal.
- Disengaging from the daily, routine work and not worrying about finishing tasks or chores was surely helpful.
- While isolation is recommended so we don’t spread the infection to others, I realized it’s very much needed even for our own healing .
- I was amazed at the innate wisdom our bodies carry, if only our conscious, intellectual minds allow them to function without interference!!
- Giving myself permission to tune in to the stillness, helped me to zone into a different frequency.
The key message that got reinforced from this experience was the importance of a break that we all need.
- A break from our routines and daily chores to unwind and de-clutter our minds. We all know it, but do not strictly follow it.
- The breaks can be small, such as, within a day between work; like a few moments of quiet by oneself, enjoying a cup of tea mindfully or doing centering & grounding.
- There can be longer periods of break where we move away totally from our daily routines, both mentally and physically; and spend quality time with ourselves.
- Some people like to travel on their own; go for retreats, taking care of the mind and body. Some others may like to go for deep meditation programs like Vipassana – where one observes complete silence for 10 days, and focuses only on meditation.
We can choose what suits us, but it is important to make that choice!
Why is Stillness so important for us?
Science and experience have proven that stillness practiced through any method serves to re-energize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain; in turn, supporting learning and improving memory. It even plays a vital role in regulating our mood and appetite.
1. Stillness is a powerful way to take care of our emotional well-being.
It’s like recharging ourselves. It allows us time and space; gives us space to self-reflect and actually hear our thoughts and feelings.
We all have that space within us, to connect to that stillness; but we tend to get caught in the pressures of our to-do lists, fears and desires. Stillness allows us to connect with our real selves, acknowledge it, embrace it and own it.
In accepting ourselves at the core, we free ourselves from judgements, prejudices, fears, biases and all those factors that typically create a wall around us.
2. Stillness helps to heal our body.
It allows us to connect with our body at a deeper level. Very often through stillness, we get insights into the reason for our aches and pains, that may have been bothering us for long.
We hold on to stress in our body through certain postures and sitting positions. Quietly observing these helps us to bring changes and relieve ourselves of the pain.
3. Stillness connects to our spiritual self and helps us Self-Actualise.
Very often I have observed this for myself. If I have had an argument with a loved one or things have not worked out as expected, I sit in silence, connect with my feelings and my deeper self; and surrender to the universe to provide me the answers.
This practice allows me to not only understand myself, but enables me to perceive the other person with empathy. It gives me a direction to reframe my thoughts and feelings and reach a place of peace.
Stillness, thus, enables healing and improvements in all three aspects of the Self – Mind, Body and Spirit.
How do we practice Stillness?
Ancient traditions and scriptures have offered the wisdom of being in the here and now; practicing mindfulness and equanimity in different ways to enable healthy living.
All these methods help us to connect with the stillness within us; which, in turn, helps us to be calm, mindful and compassionate towards ourselves and others.
There are many ways to practice stillness. Some that have worked for me are –
- Bringing awareness to our breath – flowing in and out.
- Sitting with eyes closed and bringing awareness to our feelings.
- Doing Yoga Exercises.
- Practicing Yoga Nidra.
- Getting into Deeper Meditation Sessions.
- Reciting Affirmations and Mantras.
- Listening to soothing music.
- Walking quietly and enjoying the nature around you.
I would like to conclude by saying that all of us deserve to connect to the stillness within us. One does not need to wait till one falls sick, in order to benefit from stillness.
We can find and cultivate daily and frequent practices that help create our own sanctuary of stillness.
I am sharing here a playlist of 3 Calming Meditations that I have recorded which could help you get started in your journey of practicing stillness on a daily basis. This playlist of Calming Meditations is available at the InfinumGrowth Youtube Channel.
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