“The quieter you become the more you can hear” Ram Dass
It’s not easy finding time and space to be quiet and really come back to ourselves. We may recognise the value of it but still not make time for it.. for solitude, slowness, silence, personal reflection that honors our depth and potential, that values authenticity, honesty, open heartedness and appreciates the exquisite beauty of our tender vulnerability. When we are truly alone with ourselves, the truth bubbles up, trickles down or rushes in. And as we turn towards it, we can practice allowing our capacity for compassion and courage to arise and support us.
When we create space for stillness and quietude, we create the opportunity to free ourselves from the cage of our history and conditioning for a while and discover the truth of our personal potential and deepest nature beneath the everydayness of things.
So today, I invite you to be alone with yourself for a while. To take some time to reflect, be private, be silent, device-less, to come to a stand still and find out the truth of your heart. Use the time in whatever way feels right for you. Let your heart lead the way.
If what you need is to just sit quietly somewhere listening to the birds or staring at the sky, do that. If you want to take a walk in the garden, do some yoga, some t’ai chi or some wild silent dancing, do that. If you want to write in your journal about how you’re feeling, what you want, what is troubling you or what brings you joy, do that.
The invitation is to give yourself some space to feel into the truth of things in the moment. You might want to contemplate what’s going on in your life right now.. your relationships with others, the things you do or don’t do, how you spend your time. Or you may want to focus on your inner life.. your relationship with yourself, the patterns of thinking, relating or behaving that trouble you, or what you long for, what brings you joy or how you can support your health, your sense of wellbeing, your personal and spiritual growth in the minutes, hours, days, week to come.
You may notice resistance to turning towards yourself in this way. This is quite normal and I invite you to meet any resistance with as much gentleness as you can. It’s important we respect our resistance. Sometimes we can get curious about it and explore it. At other times, we may need to allow ourselves to resist. Whatever comes up for you, try to meet it with a soft and loving heart.
Be alert to your Inner Critic, the part of you that judges, criticises or doubts you. It may have a lot to say about all this. It may tell you off about what you’re feeling, not feeling, what you’re doing or what you’re not doing. If you can, just notice when it tries to muscle in on your private space, then gently bring your attention back to the deeper truth of things. If you need to, ask yourself the question: if I was being kind to myself right now, what would I be doing or saying to myself?
If tears come, I invite you to let them flow into the pool of spent sadness. Or perhaps you need to give yourself permission to feel good, to celebrate achievement, to enjoy what you love, to feel contentment, pleasure or joy. If this is what arises, I invite you to practice allowing it to just be there, in your body, letting your heart sing, your energy flow and your soul be free.
- Listen with gentle kindness
- Be curious about what is true
- Respect your resistance
- Give yourself permission to feel good, glad and grateful
- Keep asking yourself the question: if I was being kind to myself right now, what would I be doing or saying to myself?
And when you return from the journey back home to yourself, do not be in a hurry to re-enter the rush. Stroll back into the stream of life. Notice your feet stepping gently on the ground. Bring your heart with you, back into your life. Remember to remember the time when you were alone with yourself and the loving honesty you found in your heart of hearts.
The next Quiet Reflective Space Mini-Retreat will be on Sunday 22 July 2018 in Hitchin at the venue shown in the second photograph. More information here.