Practicing stillness and silence is a simple, yet profoundly beneficial form of self-care… here’s why
Stillness is such a powerful skill in our time. So much arises when you allow yourself to just be. When you let go of the doing and the thinking and feel into the miracle that is you, simply as you are right now, intuition rises.
Silence and stillness can be scary for many people in the modern world. How much time have you honestly spent not moving or doing anything or adding any new inputs into your world? When you develop a loving relationship with yourself, and connect to your soul, spending quality alone time can be such a beautiful, revitalizing, and potent experience. When you rest in your stillness, the voice of your intuition is at its strongest. Practicing stillness can be simply getting good sleep and rest, as well as practices such as meditation and yoga nidra. Or just sit in silence and ask yourself what are the motivating forces pushing you to be active? Most often it’s our programming to be productive and it’s this force that requires letting go. You are here, and you are enough.
Mindfulness, Heartfulness, and Self-Care
When you spend time still, you can hear the quality of your thoughts, and make the effort to bring more spaciousness into your mind. You can notice which thoughts or limiting beliefs are reoccurring — what has been bothering you. You can sit in deep contemplation about something that you have going on in your life and let your wisdom come. You can notice how you feel and what kind of self-care you need.
Rather than seeing stillness as something to dread or as boring, you can…
Understand it as sacred “you time” where you can deeply connect to yourself and process everything that may have been happening in your life and your inner world.
You can reset yourself and your nervous system. You can achieve balance and harmony. New ideas and creative inspiration can come. Stillness creates a ground of being from which you can listen more deeply. You’re ultimately becoming your own best friend.
The Subtle Body
As you spend time in stillness and quietness, you develop a stronger relationship with yourself and awareness of your subtle body. Through this you can feel your own vibration, or frequency of light. You have aura layers — an auric field of energy, of light vibration – around your physical body. Closer in towards your body, these layers get slower and denser. In the yogic understanding of the subtle body, you have 72,000 nadis, which are conduits of energy and prana (lifeforce) — you can visualize them as rivers of light. There are three main ones: Ida (which starts at your left nostril and relates to the energy of the moon and the feminine); Pingala (which starts at your right nostril and relates to the energy of the sun and the masculine); and your central channel in the spinal cord, the Shushumna Nadi. This central channel connects your energy centers, also called your chakras as they are wheels of energy.
There are seven widely known chakras, although there is much debate over whether the system that everyone has come to know is totally accurate, mostly accurate or mostly symbolic. Either way, they give a map of energy in the body that is useful, especially when this is new to you. And don’t worry about understanding every aspect first — you’ll find that, as your journey unfolds, you’ll be drawn to understanding each aspect as it’s shown to you. It’s not something to remember, but something to be.
Each chakra represents a different function in your emotional, spiritual, and physical health. They receive, assimilate, and express our vital life energy.
The lower three are most connected to survival and our more animal instincts. Starting at the base of your spine is your Root chakra, the Muladhara, which is connected to your sense of being safe and secure. In your lower stomach you have your Sacral chakra, the Svadhisthana, which relates to your sense of creativity, sexuality, and emotions. Four fingers up from your Sacral is your Solar Plexus, the Manipura, connected to your sense of worth, your will, and your personal power in the world. Your Heart chakra, the Anahata is in the center of your chest, and is your ability to receive and give love. The heart is the seat of the soul and connects you to compassion and your wholeness. Your Throat chakra, the Vishuddha, links to your ability to freely express your truth. Your third eye, the Ajna, in the center of your brow, is connected to your insight and intuition — the all-seeing eye. The Crown chakra, or Sahaswara, located at the top of your head, is connected to your higher consciousness and pure awareness.
As you spend time in contemplative, stillness practices such as meditation, you enhance your awareness. This allows you to expand your states of consciousness and really be able to see and know yourself. The two glands in your brain associated with the third eye and the Crown chakra are the pineal and pituitary glands. These glands play an important role in reading and sending signals through our whole body, leading to our special capacity for self awareness. The pineal gland produces melatonin, which helps you relax and fall asleep. The pituitary gland is known as the master gland as it sends messages to other glands in the body. It is where these glands and the essence of these two chakras come together that extrasensory perception is opened and experienced. It is this center that is directly connected with raising our consciousness.
Brainwaves and States of Being
How you feel in yourself and the consciousness you experience are connected to your brain chemistry. We have five brainwave states and they have different frequencies and uses for us. Beta is your standard brainwave when you are going about your normal life, awake and alert. It is on a range of 12–38 Hz. In a Beta brainwave you are most connected to your conscious rational-thinking mind. In Alpha states, the brainwaves slow down to 8–12 Hz, and you are in a relaxed, calm, lucid state. This is perfect for intuition and creativity, and is a meditative state. You are no longer thinking, and are in an imaginative, open state. Theta brainwaves are 3–8 Hz and they are spaces of deep relaxation and deep meditation, and are perfect for reprogramming the subconscious — you experience these when you are asleep and dreaming, or in certain energy healing and hypnosis practices. Delta brainwaves are 0.5–3 Hz, and are what you mostly experience when you are having deep, restorative sleep and not dreaming. You can reach this state in very deep meditation, where your body feels asleep but your consciousness is awake, such as during a mystical experience.
Learning to switch brain states, we can use certain states to complete certain actions and reach goals more effectively.
There is also more recent research about high gamma brain states — very alert states between 38 to 42 Hz — taking you into a higher consciousness associated with peak performance and high levels of cognitive functioning. Your intuition and senses are awakened more fully. This is also a state you can reach through meditation. Once your brain gets entrained and used to certain types of brainwaves, it is much easier to access and maintain them.
Nourishing and Restful Sleep
Having restful sleep is so vital to every part of your body working optimally, connecting to its natural intelligence, and enabling your nervous system to rest and digest. This is also when so much emotional processing happens, as well as assimilation of information on multiple layers of consciousness. Experiencing both Theta and Delta brainwaves each night is necessary for health.
Seek moments of quiet each day, for example taking some time to yourself in the morning before your responsibilities begin, or in the evening before you go to bed to connect with yourself and listen to what you need and what is really going on for you. These are great times of day as you are in theta states as you are waking up or falling asleep, so it’s the perfect time to program yourself for the day ahead, or for the processing you need at night. This is also a time where new ways forward, or new ideas, might appear. You can take moments of quiet at lunchtime, or a few breaths before and after you do anything significant. Your stillness opens up a beautiful space where your intuitive wisdom can find you.
Reprinted from Intuition: Access your inner wisdom. Trust your instincts. Find your path. Copyright © 2021 by Amisha Ghadiali. Published by DK, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. For more information about this book, visit www.amisha.co.uk/intuition
You may also enjoy reading Finding Greater Meaning in Life Through Mindfulness, Stillness and Single Tasking, by David Richards