With the world population growing by the second it seems to be getting harder and harder to find a quiet place for yourself. Even at night there is still traffic and neighbours and ongoing background noise. So settling into meditation or trying to find some time to still your mind becomes a huge challenge for many.
I was lent a wonderful book by a yoga teacher a few years ago which I thought of this morning. It was great because it helps specifically with this problem.
The Quiet by Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson is known as “the guru of calm”.
In this book he explained (as far as my memory allows) how to picture each noise and sound you hear as being in layers. Once you recognise a noise, see it floating in that layer and then listen underneath it to find what else you can hear.
You continue this exercise until you’re down to just your own breathing and heart beat. Highly effective! Why? Because you are drawing your focus away from the noises like someone would do with selective hearing.
Selective hearing is when you can hear some things but not others. A good example is my children who, if you yell one metre away from them that they forgot to do a chore they may not hear it. But, if you rustle what sounds like a potato chip packet at the other end of the house, their headphones come off and they appear in the bedroom doorway to check what you are handling.
The yoga teacher who lent me The Quiet said it had been particularly popular in India. That’s easy to imagine for they have even less quiet spaces than we do. It’s any wonder that they have any silence at all in the big cities. So practicing the skills laid out in the book can be an essential part to allowing yourself those few minutes – even 15 minutes a day – to clear your mind and listen.
Listen to your body and what it needs. Listen for answers to questions you have asked the clouds above – so many people forget to wait for the answers.
This peaceful time allows your body and mind to lower stress, rest and mend in all sorts of biological and physiological ways. Then, once you’re done, you can sleep better, think more clearly, find answers quickly and cope better under pressure during a busy day.
Take a look at it. I’d love to read it again because I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time.