Years ago, when I lived in London, I visited a reflexologist recommended to me by a friend of mine. I didn’t realise it until I got there, but she was the wife of a priest. That didn’t bother me, and it didn’t bother her that I didn’t belong to the same religion as her either. We got talking to one another, and I realised that she was one of those people who caught you off guard. Because without even knowing that I was going to do this, I found myself opening up to her – and telling her things that I had never said out loud to anyone before. She just listened. I cried, and talked. And she just listened. I don’t know what it was. She was such a calm person. Around her, everything seemed chaotic and uncomfortable to me….she had 3 young boys, all carbon copies of each other, but like Russian dolls, all slightly smaller than each other, they would run in and out of the room, their things were everywhere…but she was so calm, serene and peaceful. It was as though she had the strength to absorb any worries that I had.
One of the things that she said to me, that stuck with me, was that I had a lot of unrest in my mind. She was right. She suggested that what I needed to do was sit, in a quiet room, alone, with no TV or radio, or music in the background…and listen to the noises around me. Listen to the what was going on in my head. Not block it out, not try to distract myself with other things – just listen.
I’ve heard of meditation, and I’ve tried to meditate a few times – unsuccessfully I might add, but I suppose what she was suggesting to me was – listening to my thoughts, and then being able to empty my mind, which is a precursor to meditation.
I never did it. At the time, I lived alone – and I was frightened of sitting alone, with nothing on. No distractions. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to listen to my thoughts. I was frightened of what I might hear. Funnily enough, I can do it now. I can just sit – with no TV, no music, no radio…and I relish the peace that it brings. For me, it’s equivalent of walking on the beach on a cold, windy day, bracing yourself against the elements and listening to the waves crashing on the rocks. Not your idea of peace? But it is mine. I always feel refreshed when I have been outside, walking in the cold.
To be honest – I never went back to see her. She had given me some tasks to do – listening to my thoughts was one of them…and I couldn’t do it, so I never went back to her. But like I said before, the advice never left me. When I needed to do it – I couldn’t…yet 15 years later…I can.
I think everyone should have a go at this from time to time. Switch off your phone, you’re not a doctor, you’re not on call (unless you actually are – then obviously ignore me); turn off the television; turn off your music; just sit in a room, on your own….and listen to the thoughts in your head. What do they say? Are they positive or they negative? Are they critical? Or complimentary? Are you happy? Are you frustrated? Just listen….
We are bombarded with too much stimuli sometimes. Although I am using the platform of social media to write my blog…I think social media has a lot to answer for. We are constantly available to people. Through apps such as WhatsApp and the like, people know when you last checked your phone for goodness sake! Facebook encourages you to share your location with your friends. Instagram is full of the glorious times everyone is having through the media of photo. 15 years ago – I didn’t have any of this, and I still felt a huge unrest in my mind. Now..it’s so much worse.
So…switch off. No emails…no texts…no social media….no sounds….nothing. Just nothing. Disappear. If you can bear it – start with 5 minutes. Then gradually increase it.
Does it make you feel better? I don’t know. But until you try it…who knows?