This is a very simple and beautiful practice of sitting still and allowing relaxation to go deeply into our muscles. We then mentally feel this deep physical relaxation allowing it to enter our mind. This process challenges and gradually removes the physical and mental armours produced by our mind and through repetition the mind gradually allows the relaxation to access deeper levels of defencelessness. The process continues until all defensive armour is removed and safety is experienced within the stillness of the mind itself. This then also reflects as a lowering of all defensive behaviours and anxieties within our daily life
Remember these points:
1) Slight physical discomfort is good. It is important to maintain a posture that you can maintain for the period of meditation yet that is not too comfortable. If you are too comfortable in your body this will lead to mental sleepiness and you will not experience mental stillness. Deep relaxation should be brought about by your mind, not your body, as your mind relaxes more deeply any discomfort in your body will leave and your body will become comfortable.
You can start out sitting in a chair but as you progress in Stillness meditation you should move towards a self supporting posture such as sitting upright on the front edge of the chair ad finding balance within that posture. It is then possible to progress to kneeling, then sitting on the floor.
2) You do not need to do anything at all. Your task during this meditation is to do nothing at all, not even meditate. Staying still, experiencing the heaviness and relaxation of your body as it naturally develops and allowing your mind to 'sink' with that relaxation.
3) If thinking arises that is ok, just allow your mind to drift / float around, allow it to naturally process and repair itself. View the thoughts as clouds drifting through the sky, of no importance.
4) Sometimes you may experience itches or discomfort within your body as tensions start to relax, do not move but instead relax more deeply within them. Sometimes anxiousness or fear may arise as your mind starts to let go, this is normal as your mind is so used to fighting / trying to be in control through anxiety that it fears experiencing something beyond the range of its protection mechanisms.
This is part of the training, just acknowledge whatever arises and allow yourself to Soften / relax into it.
Healing through stillness is training in the skill of 'not doing'- not even meditating. One of the main symptoms of anxiety is the need to be busy, this manifests as an overly busy, over stimulated life. It is common for a client with anxiety to say to me "I have been too busy this week to do these meditation exercises".
This is always sad to hear, because the escape they are seeking is not found in more ‘doing’ but rather in learning how to ‘not do’, to actually be with what they are experiencing, learning how to mentally rest.
Anxiety & the overly busy life
What they do not realise is that the excessive busyness within their life is actually not a normal expression of themselves but rather a symptom of the anxiety in which they are desperately trying to escape. It is not their friend but rather the expression of the mental agitation within their mind arising from the desire to escape.
The busyness within their life is a manifestation of running away, not wanting to experience the unpleasantness that they are feeling within their emotional heart. This overfilling of life, becoming too busy then becomes overwhelming, their mind runs with continuous thinking of "How can I escape from this....". Totally overstimulated, running away from the unpleasantness they cannot even sleep deeply - cannot rest.
They become trapped in over stimulated, over tightness - highly strung.
Your body & mind need rest
If your body runs around, always active, 24hrs a day never resting, it will fatigue, start to break down, become ill. Your body needs to rest; it needs a chance to repair. It does this whenever it is kept still, when you stop physically doing and give it a chance to recover. The amazing part is that you don't have to repair your body - it does it itself - your task is just to create the right conditions. Food, water, rest.
In the same way if your mind is running around, 24hrs hours a day, thinking about this problem, solving that one, fearing this one - it will fatigue and become sick. Your mind also needs to rest, the problem is that the overstimulation within your life as a symptom of anxiety, will not allow this to happen – so you start to become mentally agitated and your external life becomes chaotic and starts to reflect your mind.
Armour & defence mechanisms
Once anxiety is developed deep sleep becomes more difficult to access, the fight / flight response in the mind will not let you rest - it will not let you 'drop your guard' for fear you might be attacked – ‘DANGER’. Without these deep rest cycles, combined with the excessive busyness within life, the anxiety develops and strengthens embed in a self perpetuating cycle.
Armours, your coping mechanisms, develop to protect you from the unpleasantness of the Fight / Flight response. They develop in two ways: Personality & Emotionally
1. Personality: The shy person, extrovert, achiever, dominating, submissive, grumpy, class clown, bully, book worm, narcissist, masochist, exercise fanatic, well groomed, OCD, messy, pleaser, selfish etc. (All personality traits designed to avoid)
2. Emotionally: Anxiety, nervousness, fear, panic, depression, loneliness, sadness, irritation, frustration, anger, hatred, jealousy, selfishness, ungratefulness etc. (All emotional states that push away)
The skill of allowing stillness temporarily removes your armour and allows your mind to access a deep level of rest, in this deep level of non-activity - of 'not doing', your mind can rest and repair itself. One thing you need to remember when resting your mind: "It doesn't need your help", you just have to get out of the way. When your mind 'sinks' below it normal, habitual functions it will naturally start to heal, to repair itself. Also as it learns to sink more deeply, to let go, its defence mechanisms based on fear will weaken - you will experience a Softening of your personality.
I can teach you simple, easy to learn Mindfulness techniques to help you to manage and experience freedom from anxiety / stress within your life