“I felt free and therefore I was free.”
Jacky was off on her hols last week, in a camper van and wandering free.
I was here left at the helm (anything could happen!), on the computer, feeling a bit miffed, and slightly, ever so slightly jealous.
I love the open road. As soon as I was born, and for the first four years of my life my daily routine involved a lot of daily travels. Lying loose in the back of our wee minivan my mum would drive the return trip from Colbruach at the head of Loch Striven through the forests and hills of Glen Lean to drop my father at the Dunoon ferry to go to work in Glasgow, and then would drive to pick him up again later. I remember the soothing hum and movement of the vehicle, feeling safe with my blankets as I saw the pine trees, the hills, and lochs whizzing past, the birds in the sky and the electricity wires swoop between telegraph poles. Nothing to do, nowhere to go.
(As I drive towards Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre in the south of Scotland, I have just realised I am reminded of this soothing journey – the hills, the trees, the rhythm of the telegraph poles somehow sending me into a meditative and hypnotic trance!)
We moved to Cornwall when I was 5. We drove all the way there in a Morris Minor, me tucked up in the back with my blanket, sitting next to my cat-in-a basket. We drove, for three long days and nights. I gazed at the trees, the birds, the blurry night lights, colourful night-time raindrops catching the lights, noticing each vignette of others’ lives, I’d imagine what it would be like if I lived in that house, that house, that house. Each moment was alive- I was really with it all, nascent mindfulness budding. As we swooshed along- I was soothed by the rocking and the hum of it all. We did this journey a lot. Sitting in awareness and stillness of the back of a moving car feeling at peace while everything whizzed by. Train journeys evoke the same feeling to me. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. Mindfulness has brought this alive stillness …
I’m wondering – Can I connect to that eternal stillness of this moment every day as my daily life whizzes by?
Last week I was being driven on a fairly long drive; I felt relaxed. It was a warm day and there was nothing troubling my mind at that particular moment. I was at ease, and I just closed my eyes and rested my head against the half-open window – sun on my face wind blowing by…and as my mindful awareness came to the fore, I naturally found myself sinking, but now mindfully into this place of ease and receptiveness.
So now I was fully at home with myself. I closed my eyes intentionally, to focus on the bodily sensations I was experiencing in this moment. The sun was warm on my skin. The wind was whipping at the window; it felt pleasant. I had entered a meditative state very quickly. I was resting in awareness. Stillness, observing… I could sense my mind subtly rummaging through its database to find all the times I have heard and felt the wind like this, in an equally pleasant and equanimous moment; all the times I have driven with the window open feeling happy, all the times I have experienced that let-go feeling of having nowhere to go, nothing to do – whether in cars, boats, bikes, on windy piers, on holidays.
There was nothing concrete to find – just what felt like ephemeral memories of feelings – which seemed to feed into and even enhance or intensify THIS feeling, in this moment.
Wisdom comes with the ability to be still.
Just look and just listen. No more is needed.
Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you.
Let stillness direct your words and actions”
As I write this, I’m having an insight. Is my mind scanning to connect neurally in my brain to these past episodes? Or does my body have feeling-memory? My mind-body seems to be making connections to all previous positive feeling-memories that relate to my relaxed-being-driven, pleasant-sun-on-face, warm-windy-window feelings and causing my present experience to be somehow enriched or inflated, – SO it would make sense that my mind may also, in a different scenario, subconsciously scan for similar negative feeling-memories which may in turn inflate or amplify the negative memory-feelings, potentially causing a bad situation to become even worse.
Something to consider the next time I experience anxiety, anger or frustration – I’ll ask myself: “What is actually happening right now? and is it possible to experience it just as it is, in this moment?”
Be curious about your body-feelings this week and try to notice if they are being inflated or inflamed by previous feelings you may have had. Where are you feeling your feelings? Does this bring any insight?
Let us know we’d love to hear from you on facebook, instagram or twitter, or you can email Jacky and me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacky will be running a Stillness through Movement Course with Mindfulness, Tai Chi and Qi Gong on Tuesday Evenings starting on the 6 October. This will be a wonderful way to connect to your body through the practice of mindfulness.
Ps I’m looking forward to reading The Body Keeps the Score – Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk
I may find some answers in there. I’ll let you know what I find out!