Sit in inner stillness.

“The quieter you become,

the more you are able to hear.” – Rumi

 

Isn’t that so true!  Certainly where meditation is concerned, when we still the breath through the practice of pranyama, the body and mind gradually become still.  We find ourselves no longer enslaved to all the bodily sensations but can start to focus within.  This turning inwards of the senses is called pratyahara and this practice allows us to be in the silence.  As we sit in this silence, we can chant Om (or your preferred sacred words) inwardly or outwardly, almost like a foghorn sounding through the mist.  Feel the vibration of the words in your head and concentrate on their meaning.

Listen:

And we listen for a response.  We may hear the noises of our body (pulse, heartrate and so on); we may hear one of the sounds associated with the chakras in the body (buzzing bee for root chakra, flute for sacral chakra, harp for solar plexus, bell for heart chakra, rushing water for throat and a conglomeration of all the sounds at the spiritual eye).  You may hear static.  Concentrate on whatever you hear.  You may hear nothing (which in itself is great – no restless thoughts!).  Don’t force it, just be in the stillness.  Pray, chant an affirmation, or be silent.  You will find an amazing sense of peace comes over you if you simply surrender to the quietness, to a state not of doing, but of simply being.   For some people, this is a wonderful relaxation and de-stressing technique.  For many others, it is in this peace and stillness that we connect with God / Source.  And it is wonderful!

Benefits:

Recent studies have demonstrated the numerous physiological benefits of meditating (sitting in inner stillness), with spine erect to allow the life force to flow upwards in the body:

  • brainwaves shift from beta (processing information and external stimuli) to alpha (relaxed state) so the nervous system can rest;
  • relaxed muscles decrease tension headaches and other tension-related pain in the body;
  • regular use can lead to a reduction in anxiety;
  • increased peace and joy felt in meditation overspills into our relationships with others and improves our self-esteem and happiness.

The list is really endless.  For more information, visit www.artofliving.org.  Whatever you do today, try to find a few minutes to become quiet.  Who knows what you will hear!  Much love, Anita. 😘🙏

Is patience really such a virtue?

Patience, from the Latin patientia, a derivative of pati, to suffer or endure.

The trouble with patience:

Patience is our ability and willingness to endure misfortune and adversity.  Patience is certainly a virtue to my mind, conjuring as it does such synonyms as:  humility, submission, endurance, calmness, composure, self-restraint and equanimity.  And yet, some of these definitions may at first hand appear negative.  For example, if a person appears to be humble, are they perceived as allowing others to walk all over them?  Likewise with submissiveness.  However, when we bring to mind some of the other meanings of patience, namely the qualities of endurance, calmness, composure, self-restraint and equanimity, these appear to be wholly positive.  Many of us can confuse the concept of patience in order to get our own way in the end!!  This is simply the little self (the ego) trying to micro-manage every aspect of our life and that of others around us.

“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”

– Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister (1979 – 1990)

 

The struggle is half the battle:

The busier we are with daily life, the less even-minded I feel.  My calmness disappears in a fog of ego-bound restlessness, frustration and impatience.  I guess many of us have this struggle at various times in our lives.  But is it self-imposed?  I think I’ve figured out why this is.  It’s all to do with our relationship with the big T: Time.

Time’s up!:

Time is a manufactured state that we humans imprison ourselves in and one against which we struggle impatiently throughout our lives.  There is a better way.  Look to the animal kingdom, to our pets.  Are they stressed about time?  Are they rushing to be somewhere at an allocated time and worried about others’ reactions if they happen to arrive late?  No, of course not!  Let’s stop putting ourselves under this time pressure.  Not so easy in the workplace, I grant you, but a few moments stepping back from the frenzy of time-restraints can reset our inner balance, enabling us to work thereafter with increased patience, calmness and equanimity (not riding the storm of emotions high and low).

How to nurture patience in your life:

So how can we develop and nurture patience, and all its synonymous qualities outlined above, in our daily lives?  Below are 3 examples:

  1. You’re late for work.
    Instead of flapping and rushing, pause, close your eyes and take as many calm breaths as you need. Then think through the situation logically. How might you create a win-win situation for you and your employer? For example, phone them to explain and offer to work later to make up the time.
  2. You give a task to someone to do and they have not done it by the desired time.
    Do not allow yourself to become angry. If you find yourself thinking disparaging or angry thoughts towards the person, do not give these more power by enunciating them. Instead say nothing and walk away for a few minutes to collect yourself. Keep trying to slow down the breath as this will allow you to think more clearly. Why was the desired time so important to you? Can the task be delayed? What are the reasons for the task not being done? Did you properly supervise the person and check in on their progress? How can you proceed? and so on. Any decision you take, or words you say, must not derive from chaotically-veering emotions but should be wisdom-guided.
  3. You are finding a painful situation (physical or emotional) intolerable.
    Remember that life is God’s play (lila) and we are simply the actors in it. Depending on our individual karma accrued from past lives and our current incarnation, we are presented with situations to challenge our bad habits and our attachment to this world of sensory pleasure. God wants to see if we will renounce all the wonders that He has provided for us and find pleasure in inner communion with Him. Can we trust in Him that everything will be alright? Can we find the humility to understand that we don’t control our lives, He does? Can we submit to this higher power in the wisdom that often the things that are good for us can sometimes initially seem painful?

Have a wonderful week, and remember to be patient!! Anita.

I Surrender!

“For like the olive
I cannot be without
The sturdy tree;
And like the nectar
I cannot flow without
The blossom at its Source.”

-Anita Neilson

Surrender:

The above quote is taken from my poem In the Garden which I wrote last year at Easter time.  It got me thinking of the issue of surrender.   The more I read and talk about spiritual matters, the more the word surrender raises its head.  And I’ve finally understood it!  Just as in the poem, an olive cannot exist without the sturdy tree which gives it life; and nectar cannot flow if there is no blossom from which it may flow.  So neither can we exist without that which gives us life – the Creator / God / Brahman / Source.   I’ve also realised that the more I/we fight this higher power and try to do things our way, even when it feels wrong, the more we become immersed in “I”, the ego.

The ego is the part of us that is entrenched in the duality of the material world.  It believes in all the dramas playing out before its eyes.  It has desires, needs, wants and believes that these will bring it the happiness it seeks.  But, deep down, we know, don’t we, that the soul has always had the right idea all along – we just didn’t want to listen!  For the soul is linked with wisdom – Divine wisdom – and it directs us towards courses of action which will be for our highest good.  Always.  We just have to surrender to it and have faith that everything will be as it should be, for our greater good.

Surrendering doesn’t mean giving in and doing nothing.  It means listening to our inner wisdom and choosing a course of action in line with it, one that will be for our good and the good of others.  It means doing the right thing just because it’s the right thing to do and not wanting or expecting something in return (praise, reward etc.).   This is non-attachment to the outcome of our actions, which is a highly desirable spiritual quality we should all endeavour to attain.

This Easter time, whatever your religion or belief system, why not take a moment to think about the avatar, Jesus Christ, who came to earth over 2,000 years ago as an embodiment of Divine Forgiveness.  Think of his teachings and the example of his life of renunciation and selfless service.   He was and remains an inspiration to many, and yet he was condemned by his people.  #healingwordsmon

Surrender  –  Faith  –  Non-attachment  –  Forgiveness