Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Value of Quiet . . .

Unfolding Fern, Botannical Gardens, Edinburgh
I know how to achieve perfect zen concentration -- the absence of any thought at all.

I just sit down at the end of a particularly intense day and open up my blog and attempt to write something. Nothing.

Aha, the zen master would say!

Nothingness!

This is the moment to embrace that sense of nothing. To be fully quiet. To take 10 or 15 or even 30 minutes to allow all the threads that have claimed your attention to simply slip away.

Fern Tree, Botannical Gardens, Edinburgh
If I can, I begin by stretching through a few standing yoga stretches, breathing deeply, saying any affirmations that occur. From standing to sitting to floor, a simple routine. No hurry. If I can't remember what's next, my yoga cards help me along the way.

Then I take a final breath and go into my favorite pose when I'm tired -- the dead man's pose. I dim the lights, lie flat on my back, arms and legs perfectly comfortable on the floor. I just focus on my breathing. If a thought comes, I breathe it away.

If you have done this, you know that within a few minutes, all you can think of is breathe in, hold to 10, breathe slowly out. Gradually the tight muscles relax, the tick of the clock fades, the threads of obligation ease.

I do not pretend that I know yoga or that my practice is perfect. I only know that now I am refreshed. I can ask what is most important without feeling overwhelmed by competing priorities. I am ready to pay attention to NOW, whatever that may be.