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The stop exercise

We live in two worlds simultaneously. One is the physical world that we experience through our senses and the other is the psychological world of thoughts and emotions. Say, two people are seated together; in physical space, they are very close. One may be a doctor thinking of his forthcoming surgery while the other a politician whose thoughts are on how to trap his opponent; both of them are psychologically poles apart despite seated together.

When someone comes to our homes, we show them how well we have kept our living room, maybe even the new tiles in the bathroom. We pride ourselves on the beauty and cleanliness of our physical space but what kind of psychological country do we live in? Have we ever observed the thoughts and emotions that flow through our brains at tremendous speed, all day and night? If we could, we would see that they are loaded with aggressiveness, irritation, dislike, complaints, and sex. The dismal truth is that even though physically we may live in a lovely home, psychologically we live in a very dirty and untidy space. Is there a way to clean this space up?

One of the first things our teacher taught us was to Pause. It involved keeping an hourly alarm and every time it rang to note down what we were thinking about in a diary. After about three months if we were to classify our thoughts, we would be in for a very rude shock for we would see that most of the time they are loaded with negativity.

When we were kids we played ‘Statue’, where we had to remain completely immobile, not even to make our position comfortable. Just as our bodies and eyes remained motionless in Statue, is it possible to bring about a state of motionlessness within the mind? If at the hourly ring of the alarm, we just try stopping our thoughts for a few seconds, then we have taken a small step on a great journey. As we keep practicing, we will start experiencing moments of complete silence which slowly grow. Just as a cyclone is calmest at its core, the whirlwind of life will go on but deep within we will feel a joyous calm and peace.