Time to stop thinking

And now for something completely different...

Time to introduce you to one of our local Yogis - Nick who is joining the Collective shortly.

Nick has a knack for writing and this week he will bring us the "cosmic joke"...


The gateway to life mysteries

Nick describes his six-month challenge to meditate every day.

“If you want to stop thinking, it’s not hard. You can stop right now.”

Hari Ji. the founder of the Yoga ashram smiled cheekily in his trademark fashion at his bewildered pupils.

All around the room each of the ‘soon-to-be Yogis’ - including myself- tried our best to puzzle this out.

Many such moments are never committed to memory but this is one moment I never forgot.

It would circle back into my mind over the coming years, whenever I spent time thinking about how to stop thinking - a great and wonderful cosmic joke.

Einstein's well-known phrase "we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used creating them" might almost describe the dilemma we students found ourselves in.

If I hadn't been so busy thinking about how to stop thinking at that moment I might have seen the greater teaching.

It would take me a couple of years to understand what lay behind what Hari Ji had said for clearly there was more to it than just the command to "stop thinking."

Some seekers of the truth can transcend the glorious loop which rules the lives of most - known in the East as karma - and find what all the others are searching for.

Hari Ji was such a guy.

When people like him enter our lives, they can impart more knowledge in a few words that others take years to teach. Their very presence may shift the energy inside of you. It is as if all of life's dramas and melodramas - pent up in your body - fall away.

If you couldn’t tell already by my overly poetic intro, I was a fan of this man. One afternoon I took him aside and spoke with him in private. I asked him, among other things, how to make the mind slow down

“Meditate for 1 hour and 10 minutes every day for 6 months, no interruptions, do not open your eyes for the full time, no matter what!”

“Six months!”

I was a seeker at the beginning of my journey, accustomed to -and still craving the instant gratification - we are so used to in the West. I

I'd already been wrestling with just a 20 minutes daily commitment. This just seemed an impossibly long commitment.

“Or three months if you prefer” the reply came with such ease that it took all stress or difficulty out of the equation. Another three years would pass until I began the self-labelled ‘six-month challenge’.

In the beginning, I would sit quietly and witness as the overwhelming part of the meditation would be spent thinking, without any control over my mind. Occasionally I would remember to remind myself I was thinking before getting lost in the mind again. For brief moments I would remain with the breath.

At first, it seemed like an unstoppable tsunami of thoughts were running through my mind and that this would flow on forever. As the days passed however, subtle changes began, my body became lighter, more relaxed, my mind less scattered, and more focused (at least some of the time), then in one moment (which would turn into many) I began to experience an expanded awareness, and on occasion a vision.

As the ability to 'witness' my thoughts developed, I found myself watching them as if they were external archetypal characters 'having their say'. This in turn enabled further detachment and from there awareness would move into deeper realms beyond space and time.

Now messages might arrive and all manner of other mystical experiences might present themselves, and then I would find myself off on another thought train, destination unknown.

The practice of creating 'the witness' or detachment of the mind/ego's need to judge, label, control everything, is the path to "stopping thinking".

Once awareness is reduced to the breath, the inhalation and exhalation, the life-force moving in and out of the body, the treasure chest of the body begins to open with almost miraculous results.

Though this process of continual surrender (or servitude if you will) to the moment, you no longer ask the question of how to stop thinking and instead become the answer.


Nick's weekly sessions are at Move forward studio in Totnes.


Imbolc symbolizes the halfway point between the winter solstice (Yule) and the spring equinox (Ostara). The word "imbolc" means "in the belly of the Mother" because the seeds of spring are beginning to stir in the belly of Mother Earth.

And likewise your local Yoga teachers are stirring to bring you their best...


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