- Spiritual – relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
- Concrete Reality – the noise, the objects and the movements of the outside world.
- Inner Stream – the images that flash, the memories and the chattering voice within the mind.
- Download – information that comes from nowhere, no time and no one.
My eyes opened to new possibilities after attending a ‘Spiritual NLP’ retreat held by the Coaching Room’s Master Coach Joseph Scott. The new concept is called ‘Sitting’. I know what you’re thinking… “WTF? You spent two whole days and paid good money to learn how to ‘Sit’?” Let me explain. Sitting is a form of meditation. What’s the difference? Yep, I asked that as well. To meditate means, ‘to be there’ – whether it be on your meditation cushion, or on your walking meditation path. Eating can also be a form meditation. That is, if you are truly 100% present with your food, savouring each mouthful – becoming aware of the textures, flavours and how it makes you feel before and after ingestion. You must ‘be there’ and here’s the beauty… ‘Sitting’ is simply that. Just sitting. Have you ever just sat with no thoughts, no mantra, no intention, no agenda, no specific focus. Just sitting. Initially I thought it was too simple a practice to garner any real benefits, but over time Sitting has proven to be very powerful.
During the Sitting practice we can truly allow ourselves to rest. Resting is important. Especially in this busy high tech world we live in, there is information overload, designed to trap our attention. Now more than ever, we must learn the art of resting. Our mind as well as our body needs to rest. The problem is that not many of us know how to allow our body and mind to rest. Busy-ness has become a habit. Have you ever held a glass of water with your arm extended for a long length of time and asked, ‘Is this glass half full or half empty? The answer is who cares! The point is you’ve been holding the glass for an awfully long time. Eventually, your arm will get tired, it will start to ache and cause you pain. It’s the same for our thoughts. When we continually hold onto a conscious thought, we are using energy and eventually our mind will get tired…that is, if it isn’t already exhausted from holding that same ruminating thought. How many years have you been holding that same glass? Rest now.
How to Practice the Art of Sitting
To begin, sit in a comfortable position, back straight, eyes slightly open with a soft gaze and then take deep breaths through the nose. When I sit and look through my soft gaze, the ‘concrete reality,’ both the ‘concrete reality’ and my ‘inner stream’ are out of my control. I didn’t believe this, I thought I could shut my inner dialogue at will, but it comes back. It always does. This was an important concept for me to grasp. Sometimes I allow what happens in my concrete reality and inner stream to distract me and then I let life get in the way, instead of getting out of the way of life. It becomes difficult to cultivate empty space.
Last week I was stuck on the train in peak hour and I could overhear the woman across from me speaking too loudly on her phone. She was a heavy-set woman with botox swollen lips and a dark frizzy perm. I could feel my emotions begin to rise. Not only was her voice annoying, so too was the topic of her conversation. I realized immediately that I was in ‘error detection mode,’ judging her from afar, looking for all the things that are wrong with this annoying woman. Gossip and mean-spiritedness filled her words. Technically, she has the right to talk on the phone. I couldn’t exactly walk over and tell her to shut up simply because I needed peace. It is a public train after all. I was aware of my inner dialogue in that moment. I was aware of the constant chatter of my inner stream.
Fast-forward a few days later, a similar scenario arose. I was on the train coming home from work in peak hour. This time however, it was a man sharing the experience he had at a conference. The story was inspiring and uplifting. I even secretly took notes on my phone. So what has this story got to do with my Sitting practice? Let me explain. In Sitting practice, there will always be different voices running through our ‘inner stream’ Whether it is the voice of the loud annoying woman with the perm or the uplifting voice of the inspired man in his suit. The woman’s voice provokes fear and gives me anxiety. In Sitting, I take stock and practice observing my running thoughts. Like an outsider looking in. I let the thought pass and this is where the magic happens. By not forcing any thoughts, or mantras, intentions or agendas, the mind has its own will and its own ideas. New and old start to arise and out of nowhere the inspiring man’s voice comes online and I am reminded of the things that I have forgotten. The beautiful things that come from a place where I can find fresh ideas and new solutions that serve me. I become more resourceful and from within I begin to feel inspired.
The concept is simple but it took practice, I did it daily and over time I experienced its power. I decide and choose the ‘downloads’ that uplift, serve and inspire me. After a month of Sitting practice I have been able to cultivate empty space in order for creativity to come through. I am more productive because of the energy, focus and clarity that I have. I choose which voice I want to listen to. An inevitable side effect from this practice is that I have become even more ‘present’ with my daily activities and my connection with people. I have become a power listener – an important skill we all need to cultivate.