- Based on the book What Color is Your Sky? and the mindfulness workshop Quiet The Mind -
I want you to realize how much is going on in your mind and to practice putting it aside, reducing the noise inside, focusing on one simple thought: thinking about nothing. This practice itself can be magical. As one workshop participant I would find myself coming to know very well once said, it feels like “taking a vacation away from myself.”
Let’s do an exercise. I would like you to take out your Blue Sky notebook and write down ten ways to quiet your busy mind, ten things that you can realistically do. To help you with this, here are a few examples of simple things that anyone can do. There is no wrong way to do this. This is about feeling and experiencing; it’s not about thinking. On the contrary, it’s about drastically reducing the amount of time you spend thinking.
1. Walk in a park alone, in silence. Turn off your phone. Listen to the sounds of the trees. Close your eyes and listen to the wind passing through the leaves. Notice the different patterns and textures of the sound. If a thought comes in, notice it, let it pass, and focus on the sound of the trees. (Welcome to meditation.)
2. Jog, walk, run, ride a bike – exercise quietly while focusing on your breathing, the beauty of the landscape around you, or simply the peace of the place where you are. Avoid listening to the radio or some frantic buzz of distraction, nothing beyond perhaps some peaceful and relaxing music.
3. Listen to melodies that are more about sounds (feeling) than concepts or stories (thinking). Dance to music you love. This is a great way to shift your mindset and get into a nice groove. Don't think! Just dance. Move your body in a sensuous way or shake it. The goal here is to feel your body alive.
4. Take a nap.
5. Count objects in the street. Observe their shapes as if considering them as forms of artful expression. Focus carefully, thoughtfully, on these forms. (This is one of the best techniques I discovered during a personal development workshop in California: simple, yet so potent. Thanks to this technique, within ten minutes many of my coaching clients are astonished to feel a great sense of relief and are surprised to discover the eye of the storm in their storming anxiety.)
6. While eating a meal, close your eyes at each intake. Luxuriate in the flavor of what is in your mouth, delicately savoring the different tastes, the varying textures. Focus on the taste, on eating slowly. In one of our workshops, we have people pair up to feed each other from a small plate. This particular exercise can entirely change your relationship with food and help you realize the importance of eating in a quiet environment and focusing your attention on the moment, focusing on the now. It will make your meal last much longer for a marvelous enjoyment … and possibly help you to lose a lot of weight.
The good news is that there are lots of ways you can find to quiet your mind. Select a few techniques that work for you and make them a part of the success toolkit that we are now building for you. Later on, you can create this as a regular practice. For now, it’s important to understand how pollution can and does exist in your mind. In the next steps of the Sweat and Soul Cycle, we will look at what truly matters to you: your dreams, your vision, and the impact you can have.