In the midst of the struggle to care for my soul, I read Wordsworth’s poem, ‘The Prelude,’ in which he writes about ‘spots of time’ that nourish and repair the soul. I believe he was referring to brief, concentrated moments- little epiphanies- that inflame us with a sense of the holy. I began to search for spots of time here and there in my day. I found them by stopping. Just stopping. Some of my favorite words that Jesus spoke are, “Come away by yourself to a lonely place and rest a while.” I began to “come away” to a nook somewhere in the house or the yard where I would spend five minutes or less sitting still and receding into the quiet core of myself. Caring for my soul turned out to be simply that – spots of time in which to be.
Sue Monk Kidd, Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings
If right now our emotional reaction to seeing a certain person or hearing certain news is to fly into a rage or to get despondent or something equally extreme, it’s because we have been cultivating that particular habit for a very long time. But as my teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, we can approach our lives as an experiment. In the next moment, in the next hour, we could choose to stop, to slow down, to be still for a few seconds. We could experiment with interrupting the usual chain reaction, and not spin off in the usual way. We don’t need to blame someone else, and we don’t need to blame ourselves. Pausing is very helpful in this process. It creates a momentary contrast between being completely self-absorbed and being awake and present. You just stop for a few seconds, breathe deeply, and move on. In the middle of just living, which is usually a pretty caught-up experience characterized by a lot of internal discussion, you just pause.
Pema Chodron, The Power of the Pause, O Magazine
Our habits are strong, so a certain discipline is required to step outside our cocoon and receive the magic of our surroundings. The pause practice—the practice of taking three conscious breaths at any moment when we notice that we are stuck — is a simple but powerful practice that each of us can do at any given moment.
Pause practice can transform each day of your life. It creates an open doorway to the sacredness of the place in which you find yourself. The vastness, stillness, and magic of the place will dawn upon you, if you let your mind relax and drop for just a few breaths the storyline you are working so hard to maintain. If you pause just long enough, you can reconnect with exactly where you are, with the immediacy of your experience.
Pema Chodron, Waking up to your World