A blog about yoga, life, health and healing.
Deepak Chopra advises, "In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you"
This looks beautiful on paper. Not so easy in practice.
The movement and chaos that Deepak is referring to is the movement and chaos that so often takes place in our minds.
According to Yoga Philosophy and Buddhism, this uncontrollable movement of our minds causes much of our suffering.
The Buddhists call this mind state, "monkey mind" comparing our unfocused minds to a mischievous monkey who is always chattering, jumping from branch to branch, or maybe even flinging poo!
Thousands of years ago, the science of yoga was developed to "still the fluctuations of the mind". The Eight Limbed Path of Yoga was developed to help us control our mind's tendency to be all over the place.
Meditation is one of the tools that was written in the Yoga Sutras to help us still our ever moving minds. When our minds are calm and centered, we can know ourselves for who we really are, which according to yoga philosophy is pure love and divinity.
Again, this looks beautiful on paper. Not so easy in practice.
An easier way to "keep stillness inside of you" is by moving your body.
Think of a baby. When they are tired, bored, agitated, or uncomfortable, the best way to calm them down is movement. Mothers instinctively know this, and will rock, bounce, or swing a baby to soothe and comfort them.
Think of yourself. If you are tired, unfocused, agitated, or uncomfortable, the best way to calm yourself down is also movement. Any kind of movement at all will most likely have the effect of calming your mind as you direct your attention to the movement of your body.
A poo slinging monkey left to his own devices could potentially create chaos all around him. Giving him a task or an object to focus on will likely direct his attention and calm him down.
Our minds left to their own devices can also potentially create chaos around us. When we can focus our attention on one thing we can go from distraction to direction. Using movement to create stillness is a task that will not only benefit your body, but your mind and spirit as well.
Move your body and you will still your mind.
There is a story about a poor farmer whose only horse ran away.
His neighbors came over to lament his bad fortune. They said with great concern, "What bad luck, now you have no horse to plow the fields!" The farmer replied in an even tone, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"
The next day, the horse returned with a herd of wild stallions in tow. The neighbors came over excitedly proclaiming his good fortune. "What good luck, now you have many horses to plow your fields!" The farmer again replied with equanimity, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows."
The next day, the farmer's only son broke his leg while riding one of the wild stallions. The neighbors came over again and said with pity, "What bad luck, now you will have no one to help you in your fields." The farmer had the same response as the day before, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"
The very next day, the army came by looking for able bodied men to go to war. The farmer's son had a broken leg so the men continued their search elsewhere...........This story can go on and on and represents the reality of life's ups and downs.
The Taoist story teaches about the concepts of suchness and equanimity. Accepting the "suchness" of life, (life as it is in the moment) with equanimity (an even mind) gives us an opportunity to experience the ups and downs without getting too caught up in the drama.
Being able to keep our minds steady and even in the midst of a constantly changing "suchness" is a practice that can be quite challenging.
Yoga philosophy recommends "practice" and "detachment" as a way to remain steady and even in our minds.
The farmer in the story was able to remain calm in the face of the good and the bad that came about day to day. This was likely because he was able to "detach" or not cling to the things as they were. He accepted the constantly changing "suchness" as part of life.
The neighbors however, were much more sucked into the drama of it all. Their happiness or lack of it seemed to depend on the drama of the day.
Most of us aren't as skilled as the farmer at staying calm in the face of challenges, but letting go of the drama can keep us more stable in the face of difficulty and change.
Practicing "detachment" doesn't mean that we don't get upset when things are upsetting, or excited when things are exciting, but loosening our grip on life as it changes allows us to stay steady and balanced regardless.
For many people, the holidays bring lots of drama which can make for a very difficult couple of months.
Pay attention to when you get caught up in it and practice "letting go". Don't join in when the drama begins.
Take deep breaths. Go for a walk. Go to a yoga class. Meditate.
Most of all, enjoy life "as it is" in the moment.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras