#30daysthreeminutessilencechallenge

I recently started a ‘sitting in silence challenge’ on my Facebook page where I film myself guiding a three minute long meditation. I came up with the idea because I see there are often plank, push-up and burpee challenges on Facebook and Instagram. They are often intended to bring awareness to an important cause. The intention for my challenge is to encourage people to slow down and spend some time with themselves.

It is fun to see how the people taking exercise challenges seem to struggle the first days to complete the set amount of repetitions, but as they continue day after day, it seems to get easier. The same applies to meditation practices. It requires practice and patience. Just like our muscles, the mind can be trained to slow down and to focus.

I started practicing meditation about five years ago, and like many, my practice wasn’t very steady. I started for a period of time, and then left it, and then came back to it. A year ago, I made the commitment to myself that I would not let a day pass without siting in silence, and I have sticked to it. One year of daily practice, and I observe, almost every day that I come to my practice with the intention of focusing my mind, to then realise that my whole life is passing in my mind, as a movie while I sit still. Either analysis of past events, or planing my immediate and long-term future. But I don’t allow this to discourage me because I have noticed the benefits from siting with myself every day.

It is like a mini vacation from the constant flow of stimuli and information the outer world sends me. It is is a mini vacation from my almost compulsive need to do something. It slows down my body and my nervous system. When I practice in the morning, I feel it allows me to center myself before I meet the world. When I practice in the evening, it helps me unwind and get ready to rest.

In connection with this 30-days challenge, I will try to write a bit more often about meditation. One of my favourite reads is Chapter 6 from the Bhagavad Gita which is about Meditation. The beauty of Yoga Meditation is that it is not just a new activity we add to our daily schedule, it is a way of living. I love to go back to this chapter from time to time because it is so inspiring to read how we can gradually change our mindset to live a more harmonious and peaceful life.

The magic of self-work!

As a Yoga practitioner, I am a strong believer in the power of meditation as a wholistic approach to life. Through the practice of meditation, I have learned the power of my mind. It is through my mind that I live my life, and it is through the practice of meditation that I can gradually train myself to calm my mind, create space between my thoughts and my actions, and change my perspectives or at least accept that they are just one way of seeing things.

I am learning the power of living life ‘inside out’ as my teacher calls it. I have learned to observe myself in all situations, especially in those that bring stress and distress and ask myself, ‘what can I change in my mind to better deal with this?’ So, every once in a while, reflecting about situations in which I experience stress, I set myself a goal on how I can change the situation by changing my perspective, my attitude or my behaviour.

For a while I have been thinking that if we all were willing to work with ourselves, it would be easier to interact with each other, we would take better care of each other, our environment and all living beings.

This week, during one of my meditation sessions, one of my students shared that she had set herself the goal of being less judgemental of her boss at work. In the past, she had experienced ending up in conflict with her boss, often because she had a negative opinion on certain things her boss did or said. She decided to put her effort in her work and not waste her energy in things out of her control. I asked her how this strategy is working so far, and she said that she had noticed a change of attitude in her boss too, and that they have had some good conversations. Once, her boss answered back in a harsh way and apologised shortly after without it escalating into a conflict.

I couldn’t help but wonder if my student’s boss also had the purpose of changing some attitudes and behaviours towards my student (and maybe all the employees). I really liked this idea. Imagine if we all were constantly reflecting about how we interact with the world around us, and when we notice room for improvement, instead of pointing our fingers at others, we decide to start with our own attitudes.