It is Day 4 of the Shannon Plummer and Bob Sima “Music as Spiritual Practice” experience, and today’s practice is Stillness. I have to say this morning’s activity had a little less impact on me personally than the previous days because I do follow a pretty consistent pattern of building stillness experiences into my day (morning and evening and usually a time or two during the day). Still, it was a different approach to stillness, and I love variety. It had the same underlying beliefs and intentions that I have with my usual stillness practices, so it a valuable activity.
However, I got a little bit more charge from the activity when I had an instance of synchronicity immediately after completing Bob and Shannon’s suggestions. Synchronicity is a term developed by psychologist Carl Jung for things that are connected, not in a literal way, but as a meaningful coincidence. To me, they are things that are related not as a physical cause and effect, but as a meaningful energetic or spiritual connection. The common example is when you are thinking of someone, and that person then calls or emails you “out of the blue.” Here is an article from Psychology Today that explains it a little more fully.
The thing is that after I finished my stillness exercise, I turned to reading my morning email. The first one I clicked up was one from Dr. Peter Attia, who is one of the mind-body (focused on longevity and good health) teachers that I follow. It is the first email of the year from him, and he starts by saying he doesn’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, but he is going to start some new routines in 2020, the first of which is…wait for it…incorporating more STILLNESS into his life.
So of course, that got my attention.
This insight came to him from his second reading of a book by Ryan Holiday entitled Stillness is the Key. I’ve already requested this book from my library to see what new insights about stillness it has for me. So at least via synchronicity, maybe Bob and Shannon’s practice will have a bigger impact on me than I realized.
The resource I wanted to offer about stillness (in addition to Dr. Peter Attia, Ryan Holiday, and Stillness is the Key, since they kind of appeared on their own) is a special form of yoga I’ve discovered recently called Yoga Nidra. While I’ve taken classes regularly in “regular” yoga for years, a little over a year ago I first took a class in Yoga Nidra, which is a totally different yoga tradition for me.
Yoga Nidra is also called “yogic sleep,” and is designed specifically to produce profound relaxation without actually falling asleep. Unlike most yoga practices I’ve had, your body is not working; it all takes place in “shavasana” or corpse pose, or in another completely relaxed body position. With your body laid out, your mind follows a guided meditation that encourages total mind, body, and emotional relaxation but without falling asleep. At least in some of the Yoga Nidra experiences I have had, the session encouraged the release of thoughts, feelings, and any physical tensions while tapping into the underlying energy field of my being.
My favorite experiences have been live classes, but I haven’t attended too many in person. So more often, I do this practice through online meditations. One of my favorite people offering Yoga Nidra guided meditations is Jennifer Piercy. Here is a page offering 4 different types of her Yoga Nidra meditations, ranging from 5 minutes to 42 minutes.
This is also another example of Synchronicity. Last night, after doing my end-of-the-day practices, I spent some time sending prayers regarding the wild fires in Australia. However, I was kind of riled up after that. So I did a Yoga Nidra meditation to help me relax to be able to sleep. I didn’t know at the time that the next day’s quality would be stillness…at least in my conscious awareness.
Here is the meditation I did to prepare for sleep: https://youtu.be/r9jIuZ_1I8c
I hope you find these meditations assist in your pursuit of stillness.