Let’s face it — even if you’re a long time yogi and have regular ‘quiet time,’ there are still times in your life when you struggle with calming your anxious mind, the overactive one which doesn’t seem to turn off when everyday stresses come your way. We have talked to people from around the world and have not only heard about but tried various forms of stillness, including traditional meditation, listening to calming music and more active things like yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong and walking the labyrinth. In our interview with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar recently, he talked about the power of the breath and how we underestimate its power in not just quieting that monkey mind of ours, but on our overall physical and mental health.
After all, when those every day stresses begin to impact our mental health, we can find ourselves spending all of our time “inside” our heads, which can lead to depression or more simply, a sadness we can’t explain in a way that makes sense, even to ourselves. For example, many wonder: why am I so sad when I seemingly have so many ‘fruits’ in my life? i.e., healthy children, a job which supports me and a loving family. I won’t get into some of the ill-effects of our increasing use of technology on our overall well-being in this article, but its suffice to say, that our use of it is far from balance not to mention the EMF-effect. (see our articles on Health Impact from EMFs and EMFs are real & what to do about it)!
But, overuse of technology and its reliance on it is just one of the issues and in some ways, an ‘effect’ of now having balance in the first place. Once you are in alignment with your own values, your own soul’s purpose and journey and your raison d’etre in this lifetime, then you simply won’t overuse technology because you will no longer be drawn to it — in other words, like processed food, over-eating, smoking and taking drugs to escape, technology as it’s own “escape” will simply lose its appeal.
So, how do you get to the place of pure alignment? How do you find that inner silence more often so that your Soul begins to drive your narrative rather than the external forces around you? There are some simple things you can begin to do on a daily basis that over time will have a huge effect on your nervous system, as well as your overall happiness.
I remember hiking in Nepal in my early twenties and pulling a muscle on the way up a fairly tough climb. Others sped ahead as I began to slow down. At the time, I was a pretty active athlete (competitively so at times) so slowing down the troops so to speak, was seen as a weakness. As they sped up and my pain increased, I grew more and more frustrated since I wanted so desperately to keep up. Pain is a funny thing however because as it heightens, you are forced to slow down or even stop and listen to your body. As anyone over 40 knows, this isn’t an easy thing for a 22 year old to understand, never mind implement with grace and ease.
Simply put, I had to stop alongside the mountain by myself on that hot day in Asia so many years ago. I had a little backpack with me, which housed a water bottle, a sweatshirt and a camera but very little else. A monk suddenly appeared from nowhere and despite our language barrier, we seemed to connect. Such a warm and soothing smile he had and a way of being that I couldn’t help but be drawn into his eyes, like a child is drawn into an ice cream shop on a hot summer day. You don’t know what it is about its allure, but it’s strong and sweet. He had an ointment of sorts (similar to Tiger Balm is my guess to this day) which I applied on my hurt muscle. Although his English was limited, he looked at me with a gentleness I had yet to experience in the west. “Slow down child, slow down child. A grasshopper can win the race if winning the race is truly what you wish for. It’s not necessary for happiness though — you will see this.” Then I heard him say more slowly and purposely, “slow down grasshopper,” as I was gazing up at the mountains above me and that welcoming crystal clear blue sky.
When I looked down, he was gone as quickly as he had arrived. I didn’t see a trace of him but the smell of the ointment was proof that I hadn’t imagined the entire incident or that it was perhaps an illusion after all. But, where did he go? It was wide open for at least 30 feet and he couldn’t have disappeared into hidden crevices so quickly.
“A grasshopper can win the race if winning the race is truly what you wish for.”
It’s not to say that a 22 year old can’t have that inherent wisdom that so many ancient elders often have. I’ve always known that I was an ‘old soul’ for the insights I shared as a child and teenager would often amuse and shock elders simultaneously. That said, I always felt like I was in a hurry to get ‘somewhere’ when I was in my twenties, even when I traveled. I spent many an hour gazing into trees, oceans, rivers, lakes, hills and valleys, but I was still always searching even that search was often an ‘internal one.’
While I feel that I always knew we all had the wisdom and knowledge we needed to succeed in our human form, ‘how to access it’ was always a mystery to me. During a personal development seminar in my early thirties, I saw the quote that had a profound effect on me: the world surrenders to a quiet mind. I burst out crying at the time for no apparent reason. In hindsight of course, I realized it was because my mind never felt quiet. To this day, that quote runs deep in my veins.
Solitude felt like a weakness despite my love and passion for nature. Despite the fact that I loved to go canoeing on my own, had no problem eating alone at a bar or in a restaurant and often hiked on my own as a child, I still didn’t like the word ‘solitude.’ Likely due to outside conditioning and the way our brains are ‘trained’ in the west, I saw solitude equivalent to loneliness and who wants to be lonely, especially when you’re in your youthful prime. The truth is that I never really felt ‘lonely’ and was okay with my solo journeys, so much so that I traveled for years, often on my own. I loved my ‘walkabouts’ largely because they allowed me to feel everything and everyone around me.
As an empath, that’s often difficult and many retreat from large crowds and situations because it’s too overbearing. That said, I craved it for some reason, perhaps because it made me understand the culture I was interacting with at a deeper level and because I’ve always been ‘okay’ with “feeling.” Despite its discomfort at times, especially when I was taking on other people’s emotions, I loved FEELING it all because it made me feel so alive. It’s probably why I love walking in the rain, as long as it’s a warm day of course. Gaia’s elements have a way of bringing you ‘home’ to your Soul’s Calling and Higher Self.
“The World Surrenders to a Quiet Mind.”
Quieting the mind has always been a challenge for me. As a long time publicist before we embarked on this spiritual journey and ‘way of living’, the crowds and managing those crowds, was an integral and necessary part of my existence. It was also how I thought I was going to gain ‘worthiness’ and show ‘value.’ Worthiness from others is so overrated isn’t it? Once we begin to love and accept ourselves for exactly who we are, others do too. It’s also very freeing once we let those outside perceptions go — what’s left is truly the soul and what ‘it’ wants to do. Don’t be afraid of this — allow your soul to call the shots and you’ll begin to live a life of beautiful serenity, bliss and divine love.
Here are a few things which have worked for me over the years.
Walk Your Silence
Because of how meditation was positioned and taught (at least during my formative years), I thought that I had to meditate at least 30 minutes a day for it to “work” and I had to do it daily or it wouldn’t “work.” First of all, there is no “work.” That’s the point. There is also no right or wrong — there just is. I don’t mean the “there just is” from a Buddhist perspective only, as much as it sounds that I do. I simply mean that your way is the right way with no belief system or external philosophy attached to it. You see, what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa. For those who are overly active, meditating in a quiet spot (surrounded by fountains, candles and calming music) may not always be realistic nor may it be “comfortable” for you. Yes, really — there are many people who don’t feel comfortable with so much serenity around them, particularly when they first start trying to quiet that monkey mind. Walking meditations can be equally effective and oh btw, for those who retreat from meditation because it’s too difficult for them, a walking form of meditation will be even more effective. Why? Because you’ll actually DO it, rather than retreat FROM it. Make sense?
Whether your ‘walking meditation’ is around a labyrinth, a football field, or a field near your house, it’s all the same. Be okay with what you choose — the most important thing is showing up to do it and being okay with your choice. There is no right or wrong here. While you walk, just listen to what comes up, take a few deep breaths if ‘angst’ and ‘worry’ is part of the energy and breathe it out. Keep going — eventually, you’ll find that you’re more relaxed and can breathe it all out into the elements around you.
Motion Frees Emotion
Related to ‘walking your meditation,’ doing the things we love can free us from the constraints of our monkey mind’s dominant effect over us. It isn’t a secret that exercise is vital (not just important, but vital) to our overall health and well-being (physical and emotional). For each of us, this activity will be different. The most important thing here is: you love doing it and that it involves motion and movement.
It could be a regular exercise you already do but if this is the case, I would add a purposeful intention to that activity before you start. For example, if you already run every day, before you head out on your regular route, state what you want to feel during and after the run. It could sound something like this: As I embark upon my daily run, I feel invigorated, alive & filled with purpose and those feelings will follow me throughout my day today touching everyone I interact with. My run today fills me with beauty, kindness and self-love, all of which will serve me in my work, my own activities and with my family and friends. END. That’s it — simple, right? It doesn’t have to be complex or long, but the intention followed by motion related to that intention can be very powerful.
And, consider adding a new passion to your movement. If you’ve always loved dance, but its been on hold for awhile, try to pick it back up, even if its only two classes a month. Be gentle on yourself as you integrate without making any decision wrong. And most importantly, don’t compare yourself. If you can stick to one yoga class or kayak a week but a friend is active three times a week, promise yourself you won’t feel like a failure. Looking outside is never the answer — see what works for you, embrace it and accept it as perfect for you.
Forget About Time
I didn’t sit still or try to meditate for the longest time because every course or seminar I did seemed to suggest a time but in a way that it was the ‘right’ way to get the results you need. If you learn that a friend meditates for 30 minutes a day or that an empowerment or mindfulness class suggests 15-20 minutes and both still feel impossible, start with 5 minutes and then move to 10 minutes when it feels comfortable. There’s no rule here and there’s certainly no right or wrong. Showing up and DOING it is the most important thing and allowing the process to unfold as it should, which will be different for everyone.
Time of course is yet another external factor. There was a time (and not that long ago), that our lives were not ruled by clocks. My grandparent’s generation didn’t grow up aligning their schedules to clocks — they didn’t have them on the walls nor did they wear watches. And, they certainly didn’t have iPhones flashing at them on a minute-by-minute basis — do you realize every time you turn your phone on, it shows you the time?
There is no time in the spiritual realms. When our spirit guides come through and we talk to them about time regardless of the purpose, they are amused by our obsession with it. Don’t get me wrong — they ‘get’ that in our human form, we need to be at work by a certain time or pick our kids up from school at a certain time, but being so regulated brings us further from our own internal clocks which in essence, are all knowing. You get the idea. This is all about getting our bodies, our minds and our ways of ‘living’ back into harmonious balance.
Rituals & Ceremonies
First off, we don’t believe in or subscribe to religious dogma of any kind and we personally support all belief systems — you see, the fundamental piece of our work is grounded in love and directed towards oneness (that we’re all interconnected as a living planet) — no judgment, no labels. That said, we’ve dabbled in a bunch of different religions and philosophies over the years, for if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t understand where the doctrine comes from to begin with. In other words, it’s helpful on our journey to understand different faiths and walks of life, so we can better sympathize, empathize and of course relate. Relating to one another ultimately leads to connecting with other another which ultimately leads to loving one another.
Because we’ve both dabbled in so many faiths and customs and I have personally been to around 90 different countries and lived in 11, we love rituals and ceremonies. We particularly love them as they relate to a culture very foreign to our own, as it adds so much texture and color to the experience. Learning is growing. Accepting is surrender. Surrender sets you free.
And so, we do ceremonies and rituals often and love the bonding that is created as a result. Truth be told — all of us come from somewhere and that somewhere in ancient times, had a ritual or custom related to it — some are more active in cultures than others. Bottom line: we all have them and we all remember the ones our parents and grandparents did growing up — some of us continue those traditions and others abandon them and create their own. Either is fine, as long as it supports and nurtures you on your Soul’s Journey.
Often in rituals and ceremonies, regardless of the culture, there are elements involved: fire, air, water, earth. Immersing yourself in water (especially salt water) is cleansing, freeing and regenerating. There are many resources which point to numbers for the human body’s water content and they all vary a little bit. According to USGS (one source), up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry, the brain and heart are made up of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery at 31%. And so, it’s no wonder that as humans, we are so drawn to the water.
Also, when we walk into a room lit up with candles, we find ourselves more relaxed — fire too is an important element and useful in rituals, whether it’s simply lit candles or incense or burning white sage. Air keeps us alive — without air, we can’t keep going, so it’s fundamental to us as a species. And of course the land itself is grounding. Whether you like to garden or camp or not, we all have something that we’ve done in nature which nurtures us and makes us feel grounding. Incorporating some of these things into our own rituals or ceremonies can do wonders for calming that monkey brain of ours, and helping us reconnect to our Higher Self and Universal Consciousness as a whole.
Embrace YOUR Choice
We spoke of this earlier but it’s worth mentioning again, because so many of us have a hard time loving ourselves and everything that loving ourselves means. In other words, when we make a bad decision, maybe it’s simply a perceived bad decision. Or, maybe it’s not and it really was a bad decision at the time you made it, however that path may have been necessary for you to grow and learn.
This is really about self-love. So often I hear from people, even women over 50, that they’re ready for a relationship again (if they’re divorced or never married and why hasn’t it come yet?) or I hear “my life will be perfect if only I get this job opportunity or get away from this family member or my kids get into the right school or get rid of this chronic pain or have a savings account worth $xx or retire or get to travel or the list goes on and on and on. There are so many what if’s. If someone has lost a child in war or to a disease, it’s even harder to accept happiness in the here and now. Nothing makes sense and it’s hard to journey on, especially if they were particularly close to that person or they were living vicariously through them, which happens often in families.
What about the here and now? Embrace that and all of who are you are in the given moment. You are perfect and beautiful exactly as you are and your choices are too. Even if you can’t quite see the purpose of whatever is in your life or before you, it’s there for a reason — your soul chose it.
Music Opens Your Heart
Even if you’re not a musician or play an instrument, music can be a powerful healer. Personally, I think that music is underestimated in healing although increasingly stats are pointing to faster recovery times after operations when music is integrated. It assists people with grieving as much as it does with healing from a chronic disease. Our spirit team often tells us that when they hear harmonious music, they come instantly to us, because they ‘ride’ off and connect to the vibrations that music brings. We see this and experience it all the time in our work.
We have begun to incorporate sound healing into our Blue Soul Circles and even in our own private meditations and ‘silent’ time at home. Sound Healing can even expand our consciousness and awareness of what ‘is’ beyond the Human Realm — yes, really! According to Globe Institute of Recording & Production, Sound Healing is founded on the premise that all matter is vibrating at specific frequencies. The site goes onto say that “science has even proven that sound, or vibration, has a strong impact upon substance. For example, the study of Cymatics has shown how sound creates geometric patterns in matter. Dr. Emoto has proven that sound changes the molecular structure of water. However, more importantly, sound changes consciousness. Many ancient civilizations and modern indigenous cultures have used sound to heal and access higher levels of consciousness for thousands of years.”
David Gibson over at San Francisco’s Sound Healing Center offers classes on sound healing and even offers certification. Even if you don’t want to go that deep with sound as a healing modality, be aware of its power to both heal and reconnect you to your Higher Self. As you begin to connect to your Higher Self more and more, you’ll soon realize that your Soul is calling the shots and driving daily decision making, not your ego.
“Many ancient civilizations and modern indigenous cultures have used sound to heal and access higher levels of consciousness for thousands of years.” — Globe Institute of Recording & Production
If you already play an instrument but don’t as often as you used to, consider picking it up again even if its only for 15 minutes a week. Whether it’s the piano, violin, guitar, flute or harmonica, the sound you create will bring in higher beings even if you’re not aware of it — allow it, embrace it and be open to what you learn, feel, see and hear in the process. Its one way light beings from Higher Dimensions can connect to you (and communicate).
For those interested in going deeper with sound and aren’t quite aware of how powerful it can be to quiet the monkey mind as well as to heal, there are countless devices and modalities being used with much success around the world. Included on this list of exploration is vibroacoustic therapy, crystal alchemy bowls, Tibetan bowls, gongs, harps, tuning fork treatments, chakra balancing, bio-tuning, hydroacoustic therapy, the voice, Shamanic drumming and chimes among others.
We’re always curious how suggestions work for others, so feel free to share in the comments below your own experiences with any of the things on this list. We’d love to hear what works for you as well.
Note: if you’re in the SF Bay Area, consider joining our Meet-Up group for Bay Area circle notifications or our Facebook page for like-minded individuals all on a path to Higher Consciousness. We’re in this together and better as a community than as one.