“Can we tell ourselves when we need to walk away from chatter, turn it off entirely for half a day, or a full day, or a whole weekend, ease into a realm of something slower, but more tangible?
Can we go outside and listen?"
~ Naomi Shihab Nye
"An inner voice always used to be an outer voice. We absorb the tone of others. A harassed or angry parent. The menacing threats of an elder sibling keen to put us down. The words of a schoolyard bully or teacher who seemed impossible to please. We internalize the unhelpful voices, because at certain key moments in the past, they sounded compelling. The authority figures repeated their messages over and over until they got lodge in our own way of thinking."
When I first started practicing mindfulness, I saw internal words — aka verbal thoughts — as my opponents. Like most people, I thought the point was to not think. When verbal thoughts were present, I was obviously not. Start over. Try harder.
There's just one problem with this approach. It is normal for the mind to think in words.
Athletes and musicians -- and anyone else who has committed effort over time toward the development of a specific skill -- tend to have some advantages when it comes to these strategies. But what if there were exercises and drills to add to the mix that could systematically support the development of concentration, clarity, and equanimity in the context of rehearsal and performance?
"Take a few minutes now to just listen to and become aware of your surroundings."
A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.
Most people think that they are what their thoughts tell them they are."
~ Byron Katie
"Listen, this process called poetry is an exercise in imagining memory, and then having that memory snare and cherish imagination. Yet, every poem is and will be a capsule of territory in the perpetual present tense, a vessel taking on the ever-changing colors of the sea.
Poetry is the breath of awareness and the breathing thereof. I even mean this literally, for underlying the flow and the fall of verses are ‘natural units’ of consciousness sculpted by rhythm, by recall, by movement reaching for the edges of meaning and of darkness. One could illustrate by averring that the poem is a membrane, rippling, thrumming; reminding us that we are breathing organisms continually translating the space around us, continually translating ourselves into spaces of the known and thus drawing circumferences around locations of the unknown. From this one could extrapolate that the practice and process of remembering /evoking /awakening events and our selves lead quite naturally to questioning the polarities of other and I, to writing (and un-writing) the self, and toward rewriting the world. The boat changes the water.
Poetry is also the wind of time and thus the movement and singing of being…For when you hold a poem to your ear you hear the deep-sound, the movements we are part of, conveying not so much a literal meaning as an existential sense. It constitutes the spinal chord of remembering. And it reminds us that remembering is movement."