I was asked recently, “If you had to boil it all down to one – and only one – practice to help you stay healthy and happy in this season, what would it be?” They were referring to autumn, but as my answer quickly rose to the surface, I realized this would be my answer in ANY season.
The one practice I need to keep sane is, quite simply, a daily experience of mental stillness. These days I get there through the form of sitting – and to be clear, I don’t necessarily mean a “sitting” practice, as in formal meditation. What I mean is: I sit down, and then I stay there. That’s it.
It can be very casual in terms of what I ask my mind to do. I may ask myself “What’s arising right now, sweetheart? What do you need to breathe some space into?” I may let my thoughts drift as I gaze at a candle flame. Or I may repeat a comforting phrase in my head, a mantra-style meditation.
One of my favorite stillness meditations is to imagine I’m on the banks of a river watching my breath flow by, observing the current. On a tough day, when I need someone else’s voice in my head to drown out the crazy mind chatter, I put on a guided meditation and let my mind follow instructions. The body shows the mind what to do – slow down, just slow down a little bit more… and if I’m lucky, I get a few moments of mental stillness.
What is consistent, and consistently medicinal, is sitting still. It’s so simple – I wake up, I do my morning routine, and then I sit down…
There is a dizzying amount of mental movement in the world. If you’re feeling it too, come join me. For the next 30 days, choose a time of day, and a duration of time, and let’s sit still.
There’s something magical about setting a 30-day challenge for yourself. I did it recently, and I’m just starting up another 30-days. So let’s have a little time- and space-defying rendezvous in the stillness. Once you’ve set your start date, just put a check mark in your calendar each day you do your sitting practice.
I promise, your autumn, and perhaps your year, will be transformed.