It is said that the average person has 10,000 thoughts per day. And that the majority of those thoughts are on repeat in our heads.
What are your thoughts? Are you aware of what you think/say to yourself inside of your mind? Or are you like the majority of people, on autopilot?
I went to my first silent retreat this weekend.
It is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. The thought of being silent for a lengthy period of time both excites and scares the bejeebers out of me.
I’m continuing to explore the idea of living from a space of pure pleasure. I know that I can’t understand what brings me pleasure unless I step into the unknowns and really learn about what it is that makes me feel the way that I want to feel in my life.
At the start of the retreat we were encouraged to embrace a practice of mindful modesty as well as silence. By keeping our eyes downcast for the day as a sign of respect for our own as well as our fellow practioners inner experience. So, not only were we not speaking, we were also not looking at each other either. We were taught to view this as a break from the social constraints and the pressure we feel to interact socially in our daily lives. We were asked to witness the feelings that brought up and to witness that not judging ourselves for any of those feelings.
Often looking outwards. Not as often inwards.
Bringing awareness to things that you don’t generally take notice of is called Mindfulness. There is a reason that creating a Mindfulness Practice is encouraged. Aside from all of the health benefits associated with using such a tool, there is a tremendous amount of personal growth that follows awareness of thought and action. Personal thought and action.
This was most evident to me when we practiced Walking Meditation. We were to be very conscious of our movements during our walk. Feeling each foot strike from heel to toe. Feeling each foot itself. Slowing it down. Mindfully doing something we take for granted, whether walking or breathing, brings the sensations of such to an entirely different level. Walking and breathing? Mindful of both? MindBLOWING!
I, my friends, am a runner. I have also been dubbed the Angry Walker by my husband. The speed between my normal run and walk is barely differentiated to the naked eye. Okay…not exactly true. But I am known to walk rather quickly. Slowing down to a mindful walking pace was almost painful for me. And dizzying. I felt like a new walker toppling over and unbalanced. And then there was the stream of thought.
“Why: If I want to walk somewhere, why would I not just want to get there as fast as possible: Back to my breath: Why am I so uncoordinated and unbalanced: Are those people going to move out of my way: No, it looks as if I’m moving out of theirs: Back to the breath: Hmmmm, do I move myself out of peoples way in other life areas: Or , are they moving out of mine: Breathe: Is this just my perspective: What other perspectives do I have that might not be as factual as I think them to be: Hmmm I’m a runner and I’m the last one to finish this exercise: Breathe: I didn’t realize that I had so many muscle sensations in my feet”
Awareness of thought. Witness without Judgement. Awareness of Action.
There were other meditation and yoga styles that we practiced that were equally as thought provoking. I would strongly encourage you to try a Day of Mindfulness and or Silence.
Becoming witness to my thoughts for 6 hours that day, just 6 hours out of my day, was enlightening.
Become witness to your own. What are your 10,000 thoughts?