OK – so this post is a little deep.
When was the last time you got up at dawn and listened to the world waking up? The last time you heard the birds greet the morning and each other, oblivious to your eavesdropping?
When did you last stop to really listen, watch and feel everything around you? When did you savour the taste of today and breathe in the special smell only a new day can bring (not bed breath!)?
And when did you stop to really pay the same attention to your own internal environment (I mean that peaceful place inside yourself, not your overactive mind blasting out those nagging, negative thoughts on loudspeaker in your head – turn the volume down!)?
I’ve listened to the birds these first few mornings of 2013 and I’ve tried to find the time and space to go inside myself. I think it makes a difference.
Bringing true awareness to our environment, external and internal, is a great way to bring the wisdom of the universe in and integrate it with your own in-built universal intelligence. Sort of like alchemy.
I reckon spending time in nature or meditation (or both) is a great way to find your flow. And spending time in presence is the key. You could call it tuning into the Tao – the universal way.
Of course there are other things we can do – read, write, paint, create, set intentions, practice gratitude and forgiveness and compassion etc. But applying your senses is a great place to start.
I love this quote from Rumi:
You are not a drop in the ocean, you are an entire ocean in a drop.
The entire ocean (substitute universe) is really available inside us. Our drop is its very own unique (admittedly small) expression of the immense power of the great big ocean. But if we listen closely, we can hear the seven seas (and perhaps imagine sailing them). Ahoy.
So if you are relaxing on the beach this summer (in the Southern Hemisphere) you can listen to the sound of the whole ocean in the waves that wash the shore, and hear it echoed in your own heartbeat, just as you can hear the sounds of the sea by putting a shell to your ear. Magic.
But you can’t if you are too busy paying attention to those noisy thoughts in your head comparing how you look with other swimmers, as it will invariably be too fat (my usual comparison), or else you’ll find yourself getting perverse pleasure in noticing the woman with the very large thunder thighs and consoling yourself that perhaps you don’t look too bad after all.
Either way, those dull deadening thoughts of judgement will drown out the entire ocean. Amazing how loud they can be!
As you sunbake you can see the whole ocean beneath the sky when you squint your eyes shut against the bright sunshine, that’s if you don’t get too distracted in the book you’re reading (it’s great to read, but it’s also great to stop and just BE for a while).
If you stop to smell the ocean you can breathe in the scent of summer. Mmm salty.
You can hear the sound of the ocean echoed in the joy of children splashing in the water, in their screams of delight. You can feel the ocean depths when you dive in deep, hear the eerie sound of nothing underwater, and taste all the salt in the seven seas if you swallow a single drop.
If you’re in the northern hemisphere and enjoying a winter wonderland, you can hear the sound of the whole sky in the silent snow that dusts the ground like dandruff. You can stop to watch the world go by as fat, fluffy flakes drift lazily to the ground. You can watch the landscape turn clean, crisp and new, actually smell the freshness, just as you can see the tides come in and out if you have patience to wait and watch.
Really using our five senses to experience our external environment, and then internalising what we experience with our own sixth sense, unlocks the wisdom of the entire universe.
We find our flow by letting go (of negative, judgemental thoughts, of past pain, guilt, shame, fear and worry – the whole catastrophe), but also by tuning in our senses to all that is around us and all that is inside us. By letting in.
Deepak Chopra wrote about synchronicity – using our external senses and our internal intelligence to align ourselves with universal wisdom and opportunity. To unlock synchronicity we need to watch out for serendipity – for the signs (often from out of nowhere and nothing) that the universe wants us to see, instructions it wants us to follow.
We need to be prepared to feel, even when it hurts, to experience the different tastes and smells as if the whole world were a Middle Eastern bazaar. Mmm spicy.
And even more importantly we need to watch for stillness, listen for silence, touch emptiness, smell pureness, taste solitude. Sit with our senses, alone.
I will post in future about a yoga retreat where I got to practice meditation through early morning purposeful walking, purposeful eating and in staying silent all day (well most of the day at least). I didn’t too get far nor eat much! But I didn’t need to speak to communicate that I had found my flow (for most of the day at least). I’m sure I said it with a smile.
Now I’m not about to take a vow of silence, or take up bird-watching (definitely wouldn’t have the patience) or become some sort of monk or hermit but I reckon if you join me in some quality ‘yin’ time, contemplating nature and the nature of life then your flow might be that much easier to find.
And in the process you’ll have let go of a whole lot of stuff you don’t need to take with you down the river.