A Winter of Listening

Written by on December 24, 2019 in Conscious Living, Meditation with 0 Comments

A Time to Come Inside


So close to the Winter Solstice, the day that the sun stands still on the horizon, where the days are the shortest and the nights are the longest, it only makes sense to consider going inside. This means spending more time indoors but also spending more time in our own minds through practices like meditation.


What does it look like to close your eyes, to go inside your head and to go inside your heart and really take a look at what's inside there? I'm talking a deep knowing of your own soul, away from the chatter of our every-day business, the news, and the buzz of the holidays. The process is as easy as closing the door, turning off your phone, sitting on the floor and closing your eyes.


Yet, Sometimes we're afraid to go inside and turn off the chatter because we're afraid of what it might look like in there. We're so accustomed to the noise that we don't know who we'd be if we turned it all off. And indeed we have to prepare ourselves to take that big look inside and confront whatever might come to the surface, sometimes a well-spring of grief or loneliness or hurt. Sometimes we find a world of doubt, worry, ennui, or maybe the worst of them all, “The Shoulds,” that damning list of expectations about our life which is not fulfilled nor is it on track to be.


With a little practice and maybe a smidge of direction, what's possible is to apprentice oneself to the true and deep knowing of Self. What's possible is the ability to see yourself for who you are, a radiant, conscious, sentient being with beautiful complexities that might include sadness or loneliness or worry but seeing that who you are is fundamentally whole. I may have worry, but who I am is larger than worry. So, it's the ability to hold and even love the complexity of our own being, to somehow embrace and love what feels like the damaged parts of ourselves, knowing we're deeper than that.


A Meditation for Winter


Here's my invitation to make yours a winter of listening: today, right after you read this, maybe, or sometime today, go into a different room or turn off the computer and sit. Close your eyes and do what I call the “There Is” practice. This is where you simply point to all the things you are aware of or become aware of with the phrase, “there is” in a way that puts you as the observer rather than the subject. If you were to hear my thoughts do this practice it would sound like this: “There are closed eyes. There is semi-comfortable sitting position. There is worry about responsibilities later today. There is a cat licking my toe. There is a feeling of sadness. There is business in my head. There is peacefulness creeping around the corner.” Notice there are no personal pronouns: I, me, my. This enables us to observe the world as it is on its terms rather than from the egocentric realm of “me.” Or, if you want to go deep, it helps me see that who I am is all of these things. Set a time and do this meditation for 5 minutes or for however long you'd like to meditate. When your mind wanders, don't have an opinion about that. Simply notice that it has wandered with, “There is wandering mind,” and come back to the “There Is” Practice.

Doing this and other mindfulness practice regularly will help to train you to be less reactive and more responsive to anything that arises for you in your life. It seems that the holidays are particularly charged with things to react to. Instead, as we learn to simply witness something for what it is—a thought, emotion, event, etc.—we can learn to respond to it rather than react. 


May you have a peaceful and mindful holiday season!


Scott Moore Yoga (Photo by Alex Adams)

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and the author of Practical Yoga Nidra: The 10-Step Method to Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep, and Restore Your Spirit. When he's not teaching or conducting retreats, or traveling to teach, he also writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats and trainings in places like Tuscany, France, and Hong Kong , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program. Scott currently lives in Southern France with his wife and son.

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