Learning to Pause
Originally published on November 30th, 2016 on https://wordpress.com/posts/aheartfulmisfit.wordpress.com
There are so many things that I admire about my boss, but the characteristic I’ve found most laudable is her ability to pause.
I first noticed it when we sat down for one of our weekly check-ins: she was explaining a future project to me, and was uncertain of its trajectory. Instead of running through words until she reached her point, however, she paused, allowing a long, but not uncomfortable, silence to fill the room before resuming ten seconds later with purpose. After that moment, I began to notice her pauses in other scenarios: staff meetings, phone calls or meetings with a vendor, even in personal conversations.
There is humble power in her pause. Her ability to take a moment to collect herself does not deter from the authority she holds as a leader in the organization; if anything, it strengthens it, allowing her to make clearer, more accurate decisions for the organization and, I assume, for herself. Appreciating her ability to pause made me acutely aware of my inability to pause.
My nature is to rush, rush, rush, constantly focused on doing, talking, and finishing things as rapidly as I can before often looking back and realizing that “quick” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”. I am quick to walk, quick to speak, quick to act, quick to react, and quick to regret, all before my brain can even catch up to my senses and comprehend the potential damage. My fast-paced dialogue is akin to that of a Gilmore girl; the rapidity at which I accomplish tasks is fast, yet filled with small mistakes; and my conversations and interactions with people are often disjointed because I never slow down long enough to allow either party to process or respond.
My inability to pause has also made me mentally flighty. I am constantly reverting from past to future, always thinking about the things I could have done and how that will affect the things I have yet to do, very rarely staying in the moment long enough to realize that the present is the space that will provide me with the answers I need.
The need to incorporate “The Pause” became even more evident a few weeks ago when the global teacher of Heartfulness Meditation, Kamlesh D. Patel, affectionately known as Daaji, reinforced its significance in everyday life. “Pause before you think,” he noted. “And when you do pause to think, think with your heart.”
Change is difficult, especially when such lifelong habits seem almost irrevocably cemented into our systems. One of the many perks of practicing meditation, however, is that it has rendered me more malleable to change. As I shift from a mind-centered to a more heart-centered existence, I soften. I am able to slow down the constant chatter of my high-speed, complicated brain and see myself, my thoughts, and my actions from a purer, more objective perspective.
The result? Not only am I more aware of my flaws, but I am also able to understand their roots and ameliorate them into more positive, useful traits.
Reconnecting with my heart on a daily basis is teaching me the power of my pause. While I used to be lost in the labyrinths of my mind, I am now more heartfully conscious: conscious of my words, conscious of my actions, conscious of my reactions, and conscious of my decisions. I am a better thinker, a better worker, a better listener, channeling the pause in my heart for precise accuracy as opposed to the rushed efficiency of my mind. I stay in the present moment because I want to stay in the present moment, creating a friend out of the tranquility I’ve created through Heartfulness meditation and utilizing that friend as a positive force in every aspect of my life.
While I admire others, like my boss, for their ability to pause, I could never have imagined that it was something I was capable of. However, through the daily delving into the deep recesses of my heart, I have begun to change in incredible ways. It has helped me discover an ability that I never knew I had.
To just pause.