With all the noise in the world right now, it’s important that we create moments of quiet for ourselves. Quiet helps us to think. To process. To rest. To be.
Here are some free mindfulness exercises for creating more quiet time in your life:
STILL QUIET PLACE WITHIN (audio by Gil Fronsdal)
IN PRAISE OF THE QUIET LIFE (video)
HOW TO CREATE MORE QUIET TIME (worksheet)
CREATING QUIET TIME (worksheet)
Also, my friend Wendy Bryan recently shared how finding ‘quiet time’ has helped her deal with the stress and busy-ness of her life:
“Isn’t it interesting how proud people can appear to be about having a busy life?
People seem to wear their busy-ness as some kind of badge of honor. It’s almost as if we’re not seen to be busy, we’re being unproductive and therefore not worthwhile and certainly unworthy of people’s attention and approval.
Busy-ness suggests we’re having a fabulously exciting life filled with great achievements and accomplishment of our goals – and therefore living our dream life, or well on the way. Busy-ness can suggest purpose and a big mission.
Although I’ve been a practitioner and teacher of meditation and relaxation for around thirty years, I confess I found it difficult to drop my busy-ness. It’s been an ongoing process. Although I practiced my meditations and did my beloved Tai Chi and QiGong daily (and taught both to others), I had a busy lifestyle. I was a go-getter and I loved achieving my goals and pushing myself to do better. I read all the right personal development books and relentlessly monitored and changed my thinking lest a negative thought dared take root to put me off course. I had a strong purpose and clear mission.
As life’s big challenges took place (deaths of my parents, animals in my care, and several friends), I began feeling awfully tired and despite my best efforts, healthy diet and other disciplines I maintained, I became ill, to the point where I had to give up my business and anything to do with the business world. At fifty seven years of age, I was retired, but not in a good way.
So how have I managed to cope and still maintain my happiness and creativity over many years of dealing with debilitating health issues and the mental and emotional states that go with my particular type of illness?
Thats where the quietness comes in.
I’ve come to love my long periods of time in quietness and anything to do with busy-ness and/or it’s mate, rush, is anathema to me now. It feels detrimental to my body and soul. I’ve learnt the true meaning of slowing down and taking things one step at a time. No more racing from one thing to the next trying to get everything done!
Here’s Some Simple Practices I Recommend for Embracing and Enjoying More Quietness:
At home or while out walking/driving etc be in quietness. TV’s or Radio programs chatting at you while you’re doing other things are distractions and can create confusion and tiredness.
While doing housework, cooking, laundry and other chores/projects, be in quietness. Focus on the task at hand. Give your attention to what you’re doing while taking some nice even deep breaths. You’ll feel calmer and maybe even come to enjoy housework!
While in quietness, gratitude can be more deeply felt. Rather than thinking of all the chores etc you need to do, in quietness, you can feel such peaceful gratitude that you have a home and everything that comes with it.
In quietness, if out walking, you’ll appreciate nature more. Trees, gardens, flowers, the sun, the air, birds, dogs, people you meet all bring deepened joy when quietness is present. Your mind is calm and in the moment so feelings of peace and joy are enhanced.
Stop what you’re doing several times a day and for even just one minute, focus on your breath. Breathe in for the count of three and equally breathe out for the count of three. Practice and you’ll soon find yourself looking forward to these lovely little quiet times throughout your day. On the in breath, you can say to yourself if you choose, ‘I calm my body’ and on the out breath, ‘I calm my mind’ or any phrases that help you to slow down and feel more at ease.
Take a pen and paper (calmer and less distracting than your electronic device), estimate and write down how much time you spend per day/week with noise and mental stimulation.
How much time do you spend watching TV, listening to radio or music, reading, on the internet and/or social media, on the phone, talking and listening to others, at your place of work, in a shopping environment with many noises going on at once? Think of all the activities in your day where your mind is being stimulated.
Now write down how much time you spend in silence – not counting sleep.
You may be surprised at what you come up with. Sadly, many people spend most of their waking hours in situations where there is little or no stillness and often a whole lot of stimulation for your brain to handle.
You lie your body down to rest and sleep each night (hopefully getting the recommended seven-eight hours peaceful sleep proven to be required for good health mentally and physically) but why aren’t we so good at giving our minds some peaceful periods of quietness?
Someone said to me recently that they find meditation boring but if that’s the case, I’d say they’ve most likely lost themselves in worries, perhaps addictions, or their sense of self worth is tied up in being busy and appearing important. No time for quietness alone with oneself is something many people are fearful of.
When you truly embrace stillness and quietness of the mind, it’s anything but boring – unless you call feelings of calmness, deep love, compassion, serenity and peace boring.
Be still and go deep within the quietness in you and around you and Every Day Gets Better.“
With deep appreciation,
Founder, Mindfulness Exercises
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Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]
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