Thursday, August 13, 2015

Mindfulness, meditation & stillness

So much is said and written these days about mindfulness and meditation—how it can reduce our stress and open us up to greater creativity. Such a variety of practices exist for both these things, so it's wise to find whatever works for you.

Some mindfulness practices are physical. Some are not. And meditation practices differ. Some encourage you to simply concentrate on your (deep) breathing and keep your mind blank and free from thoughts. I don't know about you, but I've never been able to totally keep my mind free from thoughts. Attention to breathing and repeating a phrase, or mantra, reduces the activity of my brain for a time. But that's the best I can do.

So when I read this in Brené Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection, I resonated: "Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it's about creating a clearing. It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question."

She goes on to say: "Once we can let go of our assumptions about what stillness is supposed to look like and find a way to create a clearing that works for us, we stand a better chance of opening ourselves up...."

If you're able to go completely still (inside and out), more power to you. Keep it up. But if you're not, perhaps Brown's way of "creating a clearing" may work better for you. I can envision my mind like a room full of clutter—and begin to clear out some of the stuff to make room for dreams and questions. That works for me. How about you?

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