By Naomie Happi
Shauna Shapiro in her opening remarks during a conference said, “if a person is able to remain completely calm during rush hour if they can see your neighbours travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy, and if they always find contentment where-ever they are then that is most probably because they are a dog”
As humorous as the above statement is, especially given the fact that these words were the opening line to a conference, the motive behind using these different yet relative incidents could have pragmatically been to emphasise the point that no human being can always be in their best state of mind or at their finest moment 24/7. On a day to day bases, scenarios and events come to pass in our lives, altering our moods, behaviours and emotions making it entirely impossible to achieve the often desired standard of ultimate perfection, and when we fail to attain that perfect life, dream or career then we naturally begin to judge ourselves and eventually we unwillingly find ourselves sinking into an unhealthy state of mind. The questions would, therefore, be how could one ever remain resilient in the face of adversity?
There is an ancient story which is attributed to the origins of Yoga, the story goes as follows. 15 000 years ago a yogi appeared in the upper regions of the Himalayas. No one knew exactly where this yogi came from or what his purpose was. His antecedence was completely unknown, despite this fact, many people gathered around him because he carried himself with poise and was such a phenomenal presence.
The villagers all sat in a large crowd and look forward to having the yogi fill their minds with new teachings that would enable them to gain the upper hand in life, however, much to their discontent the yogi neither said anything nor did anything, he simply sat still. This went on for hours, those hours turned into days and soon into months, and as the time went by the crowd became smaller and smaller, one by one people left until there were only seven. It is said that these seven only stayed because they had realised that the yogi probably possesses some sort of miracle which allows him to remain completely still despite all the things that were happening around him. The weather and circumstances did not affect him, his past and future were not factors that withheld him from living in the present moment. When faced with times of uncertainty how do we often react? How is one supposed to remain entirely still despite everything that happens around them?
When we begin to talk about “time” we have three factors. The present, the past and the future. The latter two are two ends of a spectrum, first, we have the past which plays a mighty role in the character and development of a person. Past shattered dreams or broken relationships can affect the way in which we live in the present and on the other hand, the future holds the capacity to play with one’s nerves and anxiety levels, we being to question whether we will get that job or how we will end up paying next month’s rents and forget to live in the present moment. When was the last time you did something for yourself? Such as looking in the mirror and reminding yourself of all the things you should be grateful for today. During these uncertain times it is easy to find yourself living in the past – which is what life was pre COVID – 19 or to live in the future – what life will be like post COVID – 19. We forget to live in the present moment, many people would respond by saying there is no life under a lockdown or you cannot live for anything in this present moment. This way of thinking is not ideal for any individual growth, it is necessary to focus and choose your thoughts carefully. A Havard study claims that on average the mind wanders 47% of the time. Which means that we are almost losing out on half of the opportunities and life lessons we could have learnt if we focused on the present state of our minds.
When faced with hard times allocate the positive elements in any situation and meditate on those elements. This was the secret the yogi used for him to remain still despite his surroundings. Start your day off by sitting still, take deep breathes in and out and focus your mind on the positive. The mind is a powerful tool, how you use it can affect you in a powerful way. Shift your thoughts from living in the past or worrying about the future to making memories in the present. Wake up in the morning, write a list of things you are grateful for then make a list of short –term goals. This way you will be forced to live in the present. Now is the time to have phone calls with people you cherish, to take more pictures, to write a story and share it with people, expand your education by taking an online course, improve your physique, do some research on the wildest things. Did you know an ostrich eye is bigger than its brain? Live in the present in the wise words of Bil Keane “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
If you would like to begin a yoga based meditation to help you relax your body and mind then visit our Health & Fitness tab for more guidelines.