As a Buddhist Meditation Master I have noticed that there is one thing people fear the most – and that is silent time. The thought of ‘sitting still doing nothing’ fills most people with dread and this, of course, is one reason we are stressed. Our thought process leads us to feel that this ‘sitting still doing nothing’ is a ‘waste of time’, it makes us feel ‘useless’ or whatever else we convince ourselves it is.
We all think our situation is unique. We think our minds are crazy and chaotic and we cannot sit, let alone stop, and that there is nothing we can do about it. Or, we have tried a few things and nothing has worked. Either way, we think it is just how we are. We are not as different as we think. The conditions that create stress are the same for all of us and have affected humans for thousands of years. And the cure has existed for just as long!
We are so addicted to looking outside ourselves that we have lost access to our inner being almost completely. We protect ourselves with noise and frantic busyness. We are terrified to look inward, because our culture has given us no idea of what we will find.
You do not have to spend the whole weekend on your own in order to reduce your stress. You do not even have to learn to meditate. Just sit quietly by yourself and notice what is going through your mind. You will find that your thoughts will run riot and become wild, probably more than ever before. But this is a good sign to begin with. Far from meaning that your thoughts have become wilder, it shows you that you have become quieter, and you are finally aware of just how noisy your thoughts have always been.
‘Sitting still doing nothing’ trains your mind to calm down and trains your body to relax.