“For those who have an intense urge for Spirit and wisdom, it sits near them, waiting.”
― Patanjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Hello Spiritual Warriors!!!! Do you have a minute?
Time is the watchword of our day. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, we are aware of the weight of activities we feel we must squeeze into each moment. Getting in the shower. Checking our phone. Getting online. Hustling out of our house. Getting to work on time. In every moment jostling for position. Sending an email without taking the time to proof it. Greeting people with nods, code, and shorthand. Dumbing our communication down to 140 characters. Substituting in-person meetings with phone calls. Replacing phone calls with texts. Racing to get on a line that inches along once we race to get there. Rushing through our day. Rushing through our life. We live in a world where we hurry up to wait.
Yet when we arrive at our desired location – even as we stand in WAIT mode, we are breathing harder than before, our heart is beating faster, our mind is swirling with greater over-whelm, our fingers are quickly texting out a message, and our attention is on what comes next. We are rarely fully present. So often, we step into the next moment from a place of activity, reactivity, or conditioned response. But by interweaving stillness and silence into our being through a daily practice, we can become less reactive, less knee-jerk, and more UN-conditioned as we take each step in life. We can actually take steps filled with pure present moment awareness…steps filled with fresh, new, and infinite possibilities.
In the ancient Indian text, the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna instructs Arjuna to walk through the world…from a place of one-ness or presence. And these three simple words – yogastha kuru karmani – can be our guideposts for how we should take each step in life – from a place of stillness. As the world revs at light speed around us, we will merge into the blur always being its victim if we do not center ourselves. And we can opt to STOP before we speak or act, which takes practice, discipline, and the ability to consciously step out of the moment. Or we can integrate the stillness into us through a daily meditation practice so that this one-ness or present moment awareness ripples through us unconsciously.
My experience of the past decade as the dean of Chopra Center University has taught me that if we are willing to take the time and integrate a dedicated ritual of meditation into our daily routine, we will have a higher likelihood of being in a state of present moment awareness before we step into the next moment.
The timeless wisdom of the ancient teachings rings as true today as it did thousands of years ago. In my journey beyond Chopra Center University, where I travel the world, create my own workshops, teach at my own Teacher Trainings, and develop my own programs, being present is the key to my dharma, my happiness, my gratitude, and my deepest fulfillment.
We have a choice in each moment on how we can unfold the next moment. Nothing is imposed on us. No external force governs our behaviors. And no one can dictate how we feel. Yet, two of the most common phrases in our lexicon are, “I don’t have time for…” and “I don’t have time to…”.
And although there are many excuses for not starting each day with meditation, the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a daily meditation practice have now been scientifically proven. The key is to integrate the practice into our daily routine right alongside the pantheon of our morning ablution rituals – brushing our teeth, showering, peeing. We dedicate time to these autopilot practices never seeing them as wasting our time – yet we often can look at sitting “doing nothing” as highly inefficient.
In the practice of Raja Yoga – where we take the time each morning to rise with the sun, sit for a period of time in stillness and silence following our breathing or repeating a mantra – most likely we are doing our most important work for the day…planting the seeds for what will unfold in each moment.
We physically and emotionally settle down. We slow our pulse and breathing. We ease our thoughts. We surrender for the moment. And we give ourselves permission to take a nourishing few minutes for ourselves. We take a critical “time in.” Whether you take 10, 20, or 30 minutes to give yourself a pattern interrupt into the daily swirl of mental and physical activity, the powerful benefits begin to take hold very quickly as you become more creative, more intuitive, more forgiving, more compassionate, a better listener, a better partner, a better problem solver, and a more fulfilled individual.
We become what we do…we are the behaviors we practice. And if we dedicate a small chunk of time to a stillness and silence practice, we ultimately become that. The present moment begins to weave through every thought, every word, and every action…and then we are indeed living yogastha kuru karmani – we are moving through life coming from a place of present moment awareness. And as we cultivate our meditation practice each day, we become more responsive and less reactive, we are more purposeful and less knee-jerk and, we are more unconditioned and less conditioned.
In the stillness of Yoga, we find the seeds for our next moment and so we can approach it with greater grace and greater ease. And even when we don’t believe we have enough time in our life to dedicate a chink of time to sit and “do nothing”, we will very quickly find that through a daily practice of meditation, we can actually have more time – and richer experiences in each moment – allowing our actions to carry greater purpose and ultimately more fulfillment.
Keep connecting to the stillness & keep it real!!!! Peace. -davidji