Our minds are so busy most of the time, with all that thinking. We think about what we’ve done, we run a commentary on what we’re doing, and think about what we’re going to do. And these thoughts link to other things: times we’ve done the same before; how we feel about it; people; random memories – it just goes on and on.
But once in a while, there is a space between the thoughts, a moment of emptiness. That space, however brief, is like an oasis of calm. Nothing is going on and we can just rest in that space, a lull in our everyday busyness. I first became aware of this possibility when I was exploring meditation, but found it almost impossible to stay still, let alone quiet my mind! I was reassured by someone who had followed Buddhist practice for a long time, who told me that it is an aim, but difficult to do – so it wasn’t just me…
But then I realised that we do sometimes have that space, by some kind of accident. So can we find these spaces when we need them? Not always of course, but we can create the environment where they are more likey to happen. Gentle, rhythmic sounds certainly help for me. The sound of waves by the sea, the wind blowing gently through trees, rain pattering on the window – all these can encourage us to find that space as we focus our attention on therm.
So too can looking at something beautiful: a flowering plant with the colours and shapes and contrasting foliage; a landscape with its contours, colours, shadows and light; a piece of art we love. All these can send us into a peaceful reverie if we stay with them.
And of course there are ways to reach that space through the feel of things: cosying into soft warm clothes; gently stroking a dozy cat or dog; enjoying the feel of warm sunshine on our skin.
You will have your own prompts to reach that space between thoughts. Recognise them and use them – they give us a much-needed break, a rest from our busy minds.