The birds are OKAY with doing nothing; why shouldn't we?

Mauna – The Practice of Silence i.e. The Art of Doing Nothing

Since 2009 when I first earned my Yoga Teacher’s Certification from India, I made it a point to upgrade my learning at least once a year. What astonishes me each time is not what I have learnt; but increasingly what remains unknown to me.

This year, during my stay in India during Mar/Apr, the biggest takeaway was an exponential increase in an inner level of stillness. (Stillness is not the same as dullness, or numbness). I often wake up with 6 breaths and less per minute these days.

Not without a price. I went through a few days of silent meditation where my biggest monster stared right at me. This monster had been with me for as long as I knew sense (since 3 years old), and I know it so well that I may very soon think of it as my pet LOL.

The monster is that I couldn’t stand myself not doing anything. I just didn’t like myself when I did nothing.

In our group, there were people from America, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Canada, Japan and other parts of India. There was one other lady from one of the above countries that had the same fear I did – which was the fear of doing nothing. Make a guess about where the lady was from… (The answer is revealed at the end of this article)

“Mauna’ is a Sanskrit word for silence. It is a spiritual practice for cutting through the illusions and mental chatter, and communicate directly with our God, our highest Source. The catch is that before you get to God you first have to meet your demons.

In my case, I saw how unbearable it felt when I let go of everything – not checking emails, not working, not writing, not reading, not training… which by the way, are all disguises for something deeper.

So all the filling up the diary with appointments, rushing one meeting after the other, checking the phone for emails and messages and maybe FB updates (God forbid!!!), reading/learning,fixing the car/toilet bowl/hair/nails/face______________________________(go ahead and fill in the blanks!)

The real practice of Silence in the Ashram is to cease all interactions with the external world, and really sit and be with yourself. It does not mean you merely zip your mouth and then go and use your phone to surf internet! Real practice of silence means there is no contact with the urban world, no escaping and no distractions. You have nothing else – except you, your breath and your feelings.

My fear had something to do with lack, and self worth issues. I was scared, that I was not enough, if I do nothing.

So, there my monster was, staring at me, challenging me, telling me that: “I am not enough unless I work my butt off.”

The beauty of Mauna is that clarity happens if you push through the silence. Without external distractions, activities or people that make extra noise to confuse you, you see your inner monsters as they are.

So, clarity is painful, but not having clarity brings more pain. Not exaggerating.

What did I do? First I was disappointed. What? I thought I had this fixed like 5 years ago in that I-forgot-how manyth self development program?

And then I sat with it. Since I had nothing to do.

So what if I do nothing?

So what if i am not hard working enough? Not good looking/lovable/rich/intelligent/strong/funny/blah blah blah enough?

So what? What’s going to happen?

—>Pause in time. Stillness. Quietness.<—

It is actually okay to be not enough 🙂 I don’t have to make myself wrong for feeling not enough. This realization itself is good enough to disarm the monster.

Anybody who is sincere in pursuing the spiritual path, of growing to become better versions of themselves will have gone through this at one or more points of their journey.

In the garden of our soul, we unearthed the seeds of our pain and demolished all the weeds and ugly plants, we plant new seeds in the garden, after some years of hard work we are rewarded with beautiful flowers edible greens. All of a sudden we spot weeds and that is all it takes to remind us we had an unruly soul. But the good thing is that even though weeds continue to pop, it is now far more easier and faster to spot, and pull them out (or you can eat them since they are so nutritionally dense!).

Just don’t let them spoil your garden.

Take it that as long as you have a garden, you will have weeds springing out.

And take it that as long as you are alive, your triggers of emotional pain will stay. But I am not saying that in a discouraging way.

Your actions don’t have to be that of weeds and ugly plants. You can turn any seeds into beautiful flowers by channeling with the right actions.

This is why stillness is so important. In the clarity of stillness you can see that it is OKAY to be weed prone.

As long as you keep practicing, sincerely and persistently, I promise you will be able to remove your weeds with more grace, in time to come, even unseen to the people who passes by your garden. Isn’t that cool.

Please, love yourself enough to give yourself a day of Mauna at least once a week.

Namaste and Hugs

P.S. The answer to my question – the lady was from Japan. Haha, so much for developed countries!

Copyright (C) Linda Loo

 

 

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