Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quest for a Quiet Mind

“That's not a challenge for you ...”

“I do that when I exercise - I don't watch the TV or listen to music or anything ...”

“I do this everyday. I live alone so there is no-one to talk to ...”

These were some of the responses when I initially announced I was doing the Quiet Quest, a fund-raising activity for The Yoga Foundation that required me to be silent and unplugged for the equivalent of 30 minutes of 30 days in October.

Maybe it was the way I introduced the Quest; instead of stating what was involved maybe I should have stated the objective - to raise funds to develop yoga-based programs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I ummed and ahhed about whether to join (asking people to sponsor me seemed scary) and so, it was only the day before the Quest started that I signed up. I knew how good I felt after a silent meditation retreat so really believed that yoga-based programmes would benefit those suffering from PTSD.

On hearing these responses I felt hurt, angry, and became quite defensive: “Being unplugged is difficult for me ...”, “Do you say ‘hello’ to people you meet when you're walking?”. I felt that my efforts were being trivialised that, even though I saw it as a challenge, this was an easy task and anyone could do it.

Just because I'm introverted and quiet, doesn't mean that I am mindful. Just because I teach yoga, doesn't mean that I meditate or practice asana every day. I was a techie long before I was a yogi so I am constantly plugged in; I use my computer and mobile devices as teaching tools, research tools, entertainment, day-to-day task managers. Being unplugged and mindfully silent was going to be a challenge.

And who said that the Quiet Quest had to be a challenge? Wasn't the aim to raise funds for our veterans?

As I am wont to do I stewed over the responses and, if not for Hubby and his willingness to listen to my rants, I might still be stewing. It was clear that I put a lot of worth in other people's comments and tend to doubt my own intuition. It was a perfect example of the relationship between thoughts, words, actions and habits as voiced by the Dalai Lama. The thoughts and words of others led to my reactions and habits of questioning myself. My reactions also showed how important it is to be mindful and practise ahimsa (non-violence) in speech. Thoughtless words from me can lead to negative reactions and habits of others.

There is still much for me to learn about myself and the Quiet Quest is a perfect way to start. It ‘forces’ me to take 30 minutes out of my day to reflect on my actions and thoughts, and work towards developing equanimity.

“The quieter you become, the more you hear”

Ram Dass

For more information about the Quiet Quest, see their fund-raising page:

Updates on my Quiet Quest

29 October
The Yoga Foundation are about $2000 shy of their target. If you would like to help, please donate to my Quiet Quest at Donations are accepted until the 31 December.

Thank you.

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