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Posted Mar 26 2009 3:43pm

Today’s guest post was a by-MizFit-request.

After reading the comment below (made on this post ) I had to find out more:

Hi Miz. What you don’t know about this particular member of the tribe is that way back when I lived in a inter-religious house- trying to create dialogue to reduce religious tensions on a very very small scale. The year I spent there also involved 3 nuns from different orders, a buddhist, a hindu and a wiccan. Every second day, we would have some quiet time as a group. This is how we got into it:

We would play some soothing music- Enya seemed to be a perennial favourite for maybe three minutes, then we were encouraged to look into the flame of a candle. The focus on the ever changing flame gave me enough to think about that very soon I could remain quite focussed rather than having my worries intrude on any mantra.

The meditation lasted only as long as you were comfortable, which meant that sometimes it lasted 5 minutes, and sometimes it lasted hours.

I hope that helps some of the bumbling band.

Aishchai (His blog name which means fire-life) is a rare creature. Living in England, he’s been getting fitter on the inside and the outside for the past two years or so. After working in a caring profession for years, as a nurse, and then with refugees and victims of trafficking, he realized that his internal batteries were on empty, and no amount of food was going to help them recharge. Forward a couple of years, and you can find him sweating his heart out down in the gym four times a week, and able to whip up his grandmother’s cheesecake and give most of it away.

Please to enjoy his response to my request:

Me? A guest post? Really? Thanks for the invite. I kind of panicked, but then I thought, actually this is something that I do know about and maybe the bumbling band might like to hear a little about it, so here goes!

So I don’t know what kind of shape you’d rather this was in, but feel free to edit this as much as you want.

“Once upon a time, or more precisely sometime after my 18th birthday, I decided that the time had come for me to have an adventure. Most teenagers pack their bags and go exploring, say, the big cities of America or Europe . Me? I decide that my big adventure would be inwards. So I packed my bags and headed off to live in a convent with three nuns, an Episcopalian, a Buddhist, a Muslim and a Witch. The idea was, in coming to live together, we could begin to open up and understand each other, and ourselves a little better. I think they were expecting me, the Jew, to shrug my shoulders and say “Oy!” a lot, and I don’t think I disappointed.  It was a course in life skills that has helped me ever since. That also included learning the importance of finding stillness.

A few posts ago, Miz. Fit introduced the idea of finding 10 minutes of quiet and meditation in our lives. I noticed that many of the bumbling band thought it would be really hard to find a space to be quiet for that long. So here, perhaps, are a few tricks for the busier people out there.

The first thing I learnt is that quiet time, or that time when you find stillness does not mean that you have to be still. Quiet time is a moment to feed you senses and your soul. Its can be about doing things slowly and with purpose.

There is a little preparation. Switch off your phone- mobile and landline. Switch off the monitor of your computer. Switch off the TV or the CD player. Tell the family or your colleagues that you need a few minutes to yourself. And then, begin.

Say it’s the end of lunch. You maybe have an apple. Look at the apple. Really look at it. What does it look like? Does it have a little pattern on the skin? Are there grooves along the stalk? Smell it. What does it smell like? How does the apple feel in your hand? Is it smooth all over? Has it little bumps that you can barely feel? How heavy is it? And when you bite it, think about where the flavour explodes across your tongue, what the apple feels like in your mouth as you chew it. Take your time. You need to do this with purpose.

Or what if you just can’t find the time to sit down? That’s okay. On your way from the car, perhaps as you get out of the car, you can slow it down a little. Think about what you’re doing. Think about where you’re placing your hands- what is the texture of like? Is it warm or cold? Hard or soft? Smooth or textured? What can you smell? Is it a good or a bad smell? Where does the smell come from? Think about your movement- how you hip connects to the rest of your body, how your knees move? When was that last time you thought about how you walk? Isn’t it some kind of miracle that you can walk, moving all those muscles at once? (Just to say, maybe be a bit careful with that one, as the last time I tried it, I ended up at the top of the stairs wondering how I was going to get my body to move in just the right way in order to get to the bottom without me going head over heels!)

And if you are lucky enough that you can go into a room by yourself and find some quiet, but the thought of that past due bill keeps creeping into the back of your brain, perhaps you can ease yourself into stillness by listening to some music. This is not the time for Kanye or Mariah, people. Try something slower, maybe a little repetitive- Enya, some classical music. But make sure you turn it off after a few minutes. You can look into the flame of a candle. Try to keep some focus on the flame and notice how it changes shape or colour. Or look at your hand. Really look at it. Look at how it folds, how each finger connects to the palm. Perhaps you see some veins running just under the skin. Or think about how you feel in you clothes. Maybe you can feel the tops of your shoes around your ankles, or you jeans are hugging the backs of your calves.

I’m betting that after the first couple of times you try this, you find that you have been quiet for maybe a little longer than you thought. And stillness is an exercise. Sometimes you’ll find it easy, and sometimes you’ll find it tough, but however long or short you achieve in being still, you moved just a little bit closer to the centre of yourself. And maybe you, like me, find your self falling into a quick doze. So what? Enjoy the doze!  For the record, I still make the time to find some stillness twice a week. Once I week, I fill up the bath, and allow myself 10 minutes to slow it down. Once a week, I walk down to the gym taking my time to look at everything- the grass, the trees, the clouds, the river. Pretty soon, you’ll be allowing yourself little moments of stillness all through the week. Enjoy it. Treasure it even.”

There. I hope that can be made into some kind of shape to make an interesting post for you!

Yep, I say this often but you must check out his blog.

In a blogworld crammed with people who think they know it all /have a ton to say Aishchai truly DOES & is humble enough to not even realize it.

Now you.

Have you joined us on our quest for calm?

Begun a meditation practice?

Please to share it all in the comments…

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