On fans, thoughts, and peace of mind.
So, the other day I was laying on my mat in hot yoga class, wishing I was anywhere else, trying to concentrate on one point on the ceiling during savasana so that my heart rate and thought rate would calm down. The problem was that I was positioned just underneath a ceiling fan that was running, so when I looked up, all I could see were fan blades making endless rotations. It wasn’t very calming, in fact it made me dizzy. I was just about to call it a day and close my eyes when I realized that the center of the fan was not moving and was a good place to focus. In fact, when I focused just on the unmoving center of the fan, I was able to ignore the whirling blades on all sides of it and my heart rate slowed down immediately.
In a separate story, I’ve been working on having a regular meditation practice for the past few months. It’s approximately my 5 millionth start at doing this, but, recently, I found a method that seems to be working for me (more about that at the end of this post). Either that or I’m just ready to get this thing done. Anyway, during the course of practicing, I’ve been able to focus enough on my breath that I feel that I am finally reaching that place of stillness inside. Better yet, I’m learning how to access it outside of meditation practice, when I’m freaking out, which is extremely handy. Some people call this place your inner core or stillness, your true self, or your soul. I’ve read about it in countless books and in many, many blog posts. I would often wonder when practicing — is this it? Or how about this? Turns out you will know it when you see it. It’s really nothing magical — it just happens with patient work and doing the same thing over and over about one zillion times (at least for me.)
So, where do the fan and my new meditation practice coincide? Well, in a really good analogy of course. The fan blades are the endless thoughts parading through the mind on a daily basis – some good and a lot full of anxiety and worry. When your eye follows the thoughts, it can make you really dizzy…and upset..and worried…anxious. But when you can find your core and focus on it, you can ignore the whirling dervish of your fan blades..I mean mind. And when you can ignore the whirling dervish of your mind, you don’t get swept away in its stories and you can experience a peacefulness that is mighty fine. Mighty fine indeed.
P.S. I don’t know where you are in relation to meditation or peace of mind or any of that stuff, but if you’ve been trying to meditate regularly and it doesn’t seem to be working, check out Headspace. It’s a program for helping you create good habits and it includes funny little videos that illustrate things quite well, as well as the voice of Andy, the Headspace creator, on all of the meditations.