Giving myself a break
Reflecting on meditation, I cannot help but notice how busy everybody is, how much in motion, how achieving. Everybody is always either working, working on working, developing a project, and idea, a plan. Endless creation, endless busyness.
It appears no one is ever resting or taking a break. The breaks during the day are actually actions, designated to either eating, exercising or meeting a friend for coffee. While this may be taking a break from a task, it is not really taking a break. A break from a task is more like keeping busy with something else before going back to the task. It is constantly paying attention to something.
Being busy all the time is exciting, the body produces adrenaline and stress can be a constant exhilaration. It is so satisfying to get everything done, to be active, to participate, to contribute, to create. It can provide a sense of accomplishment, of importance, of entitlement. It provides things to talk about, to identify with, to be proud of and of course; constant action.
There are endless studies and pages of research why taking breaks is necessary and enables our brains to be more productive. From my personal experience and from what I observe around me, it is productivity and constant action that we need a break from. A shift from wanting to be more productive towards wanting to be more present in our lives, more aligned, more aware.
In this constant doing, meditation is a refugee, it is taking a break, it is a moment of non-action. It is quietness, a space in which there are no distractions, a space in which there is no need to respond, interact or function. A space that is impartial to physical surroundings, untouched by sounds and noise. A place in which aliveness is possible, in which nothing needs to be numbed, in which all can be felt, because there is time, there is safety. An endless space, so vast and abundant, so generous in its patience and so compassionate, unconditionally. A place free to enter any time, always welcoming, always available. No matter how unpresentable I feel. I can always show up, find rest, sometimes comfort, but always rest. It is that little distance between what matters and what does not.
Meditation is also a practice in humbleness. A reminder of insignificance. An inspiration to not take myself, my work, my life too seriously. An opportunity to realign with the reality that we are all the same, with different experiences, different chances, different fates. Not one is more or less worthy, not more or less significant. A practice of disidentifying and freeing myself of my own beliefs about right and wrong and becoming more available to life and its many opportunities. Realising again and again that I am the creator of my thoughts and hence my universe. I can change my perspective whenever I am ready and my experience changes.
So as the leaves begin to fall and the light fades, I find myself turning inward, preparing for the darker time of the year. A time that offers me rest and stillness and invites me to contemplate. I rise early with the light and take the time, before the busy day begins, to sit and watch. I watch my thoughts, my emotions, I hear the sounds of the world around me moving and I breathe. The brake I give myself is simply to not interfere, to not respond, to not interact. I just sit and watch. Some days I want to stay forever in non action and some days there seems to be no way to not engage with each thought or emotion passing my sky. It takes practice to easily gain access to the space but more than practice, it takes opportunity. Providing time for meditation is providing opportunity for rest. Meditation is a blissful rest.
May you find rest within yourself and transition peacefully into the change of season. With love
Eliza Charu Hermsdorf
Mediator in conflicts & co-founder of DIMA Mallorca