The Power of the P
The Power of The P, The Big Pause!
I first heard the term “sacred pause” while taking my training to become a yoga teacher. My teacher Leigh introduced us to a book titled ‘Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With The Heart Of a Buddha’ by Tara Brach, PH.D. -Whew! In our lives we often find ourselves in situations out of our control.One example from the book involved pilots testing altitude levels of planes scary right. At a certain point for every single test the pilots would begin to lose control of the aircraft and no matter the amount of training or survival instinct, the pilots would eventually fall to their deaths. That was until one guy was knocked around until he was unconscious mid test, the plane eventually made it back into denser atmosphere, an he was able to regain consciousness and take back controls.With that flight everyone involved learned that sometimes the only choice you have is to “take your hands off of the control”, for that moment even though unconscious the pilot experienced the opportunity of doing nothing and it saved his life.
As adult humans with free- ish will, it is in our nature to try to control things, even the things are out of our control. We do so by worrying, creating never ending mental chatter, and internally strategizing trying to plan for every detail life can throw at us. Then most of the time when those same out of our hand’s situations arise, we are left stuck or frantically apply correction after correction making the situation worse.
So how can we begin to let go? The first step is to pause, temporarily stopping whatever it is that you are doing- talking, reading, working, or worrying and becoming fully aware of the present moment. Noticing how you feel, noticing your reactions, noticing what you are putting into our body, noticing any subconscious patterns that may no longer be serving you in growth and transmuting your suffering. “To pause is not to act as if nothing is happening, but to act as if anything can happen”. Pausing gives you the opportunity to open up to many possibilities to respond to the things we want to hide away like anger and fear. When we move through life reacting instead of responding we become those pilots who failed to let the controls go, you may not physically die but those important parts inside of you like self-trust, care, and intuition become weaker.
The Practice of pausing
Pausing is something you must try over and over again.It’s the times where you don’t feel like pausing you should use the power of the P. Do you really need to offer that unwanted advice? Did you really need to tell your cousin you didn’t like her hair? Did you really need to yell at the driver that cut you off in traffic? By using the power of the “Big Pause” you can stop, think, observe, and process then proceed to act. There are moments when you pause without being mindful, such as naturally taking a deep breath before a presentation, watching a sun rise in silence, or even noticing the fall leaves on a tree while driving. Those are all examples of pausing and when we add intention to pausing it becomes sacred, Tara Brach tells us “the pauses in our life make our experience full and meaningful.” Give yourself permission to pause, be still, and give attention to the things that are here in this present moment.
How can you add the sacred pause into your life? Can you pause before starting your car just to say a quick prayer or take a few deep breaths? Can you pause before offering advice or even pause before emotionally dumping on someone? I like to say, “I need to vent do you have the emotional capacity?”. Pausing gives you the space to be present outside of the drama of fear, regret, shame, guilt, ego, victim hood and anything else that’s telling you that the present moment is not enough.
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