How Pausing Can Benefit You

There's nothing wrong with thinking. It's an essential part of living. But we don't need to be thinking continually.

When you pause your thinking, you can step back, breathe more easily, and relax. Which, needless to say, is good for your health and general well-being.

And you can begin to appreciate the smaller details of life, that you weren't noticing before—eating a meal, listening to music, taking a walk.

You'll probably also notice there's a quality of inner quiet or stillness, a feeling of openness, or maybe some greater clarity. And the more clear your mind is, the more creative you'll be, and the better your decisions.

You may notice that negative feelings tend to drop away in the present moment. This is because the thoughts that fed them are no longer present. There's a payoff here in our personal lives: How often has a relationship been soured because of some negative emotion or thought pattern in which we'd become stuck?

As I pause I like to savor how good it feels. To take a moment to enjoy the ease and relief that comes as the mind settles down. It encourages me to remember to pause more often.

Our culture teaches us to focus our thinking, but we aren't usually taught the benefits of allowing the thinking mind to relax. I came to it from a lifetime of studying and teaching meditation, and have found it to be one of the simplest and also most effective ways of quietening the thinking mind and dropping back into the ease and relief of the present moment.

You might think that meditation requires great discipline and years of practice. My own explorations have shown the opposite is true. Learning how to let the mind settle down is actually quite easy. The key is giving up all trying and effort.

I've recently integrated my own discoveries on how to do this in an online meditation course—How to Meditate Without Even Trying. So if you want to go further in the practice of pausing, give it a try.