Exercises for Balance via Self-Awareness
Last time, I included meditations and manifesting techniques to help achieve a more positive state of balance for self, others and the planet. I’d like to continue that theme with some exercises I have found very helpful in my on-going quest to become the most balanced, conscious human being I can be.
I’ve divided them into two categories: exercises to bring balance via developing awareness of self, and exercises to bring balance via awareness of our place with the planet.
EXERCISES FOR BALANCE VIA SELF-AWARENESS
Try to “be” with yourself for a length of time (five minutes, 15 minutes, half an hour, hopefully at some point an hour). Sit in silence without doing anything, without reading, watching TV, listening to music or even meditating. For this exercise, those are considered distractions. The point is twofold. First, by being in silence without the distractions of our modern, busy, everyday life, we are able to observe what is around us that we don’t usually see nor have time to notice. A lot of balance is achieved by observing our world and being aware of how we fit or don’t fit with our surroundings.
The second purpose of this exercise is to help us be aware of where our mind goes, how uncomfortable we feel not having a specific purpose or “filler” for every single minute. We will normally feel pulled to do something, anything, even just tapping our fingers in a beat, as long as it’s not nothing. How strong those feelings are of wasting time or the pull to do anything rather than nothing shows us how much out of touch we are with our own peace.
Filling every moment with distraction is an escape. Having music on with earbuds blocking out everything else, constantly needing to stay in contact via texting or messaging or just plain talking on a cell wherever we are, leaving the TV on 24/7 for company…all these chosen distractions protect us from the chaos of the outside world, but they also limit our connection to ourselves, each other and the Earth.
They have been necessary in this transition time, but it’s become rote to remove ourselves from discomfort we feel we have no control over, like someone else’s cell phone conversation in a public place, or the turmoil of people who take out their bad day on anyone around them.
Regularly practicing just “being” in a safe environment will help us stay balanced.
Sit in complete darkness and silence for a length of time (again five minutes to start will do). Our level of discomfort in the dark shows where fear still has hold of us. We’ve been living through 2,000 years of fear being the main oppressive tool for the few to control the many. So face your fear, whatever it is. Tell it to “come and do its worst” and embrace the worst case scenario.
This is extremely difficult, but know that once we conquer our own fear, nothing can scare us again. Even if we can’t face the fear, at least being aware of it is a first step.
Be aware of your own heartbeat. First listen for it. Feel your pulse in wrist, ankle or neck veins if you must. Play with it to see how you can make it speed up or slow down by panting or by holding your breath. Relate that to reactions you have to what upsets you or stresses you out. Maintain that balance of your reactions by controlling your heartbeat through breathing.
Listen to the sounds around you. Be aware of everything. Start with the sounds immediately around you, what’s next to you, in the same room? Then expand your awareness to take in what’s outside the room you’re in, what’s outside the building. Be aware of the closest noise to you, which may be your breathing, and then the noise furthest away, which may be traffic or a plane going overhead.
Listen to voices of others and note how their vocal vibrations make you feel. You can learn a lot about people by being aware of your physical reaction to their voice when they’re unaware that you’re listening.
Practice listening for animal, bird and insect sounds. Listen to the wind, to the heat of the sun on pavement. Be aware of how noisy our man-made world is. Imagine how you would feel if the only sounds you hear during the day are natural ones.
Hum to yourself a single, continuing droning note and feel that hum/vibration within your body. Try to feel it in different parts of your body – your toes, behind your knees, your fingertips, the end of your nose, the top of your head. Do this by “sending” it via concentrating on that specific body part. It may feel you’re imagining a vibration in your big toe rather than actually feeling it, but once you hum, that vibration goes through your entire body.
This is to help you become more aware of what you pick up from what’s around you so that you can recognize what is pleasant and what is not. If you know how to detect your own purposeful vibration via the humming, you’ll become more aware of the vibrations outside you. Anything that helps you recognize how you feel and react to the world outside of self gives you balance within.
EXERCISES FOR BALANCE VIA THE WORLD AROUND US
While you go through the day, start noticing the shadows of things, specifically natural things like trees and mountains, and the shadows clouds project. Notice the shadow you throw, even as you sit in light from the TV. There is a whole other awareness of things in shadows, not negative, not scary, just different. We can’t know the whole of ourselves or the Earth without being aware of shadows.
Listen for the Earth’s heartbeat. Years ago, National Geographic ran an article that proved the Earth breathes. If she breathes, she also has a pulse. As you listened to your own heartbeat, now extend your hearing and listen to that of the Earth. Know it must be considerably slower than ours as she has so much more vastness to her. It might seem as imagination once you hear or feel it, but that’s a start, too.
One of the two times I’ve had clear communication with the Earth’s consciousness followed a meditation to listen for her heartbeat.
Observe birds, animals and insects in their daily lives – hummingbirds, squirrels, ants. They’re all around us but most of us barely notice. Once you are purposefully aware of them, they will show up to you regularly.
Having come from Michigan, I was unaccustomed to seeing hummingbirds and was thrilled to have one greet me during my first weeks after moving to Los Angeles. I was walking down a street and a hummer seemed to “walk” with me, moving from tree to bush to tree along the way. I heard the hum of the wings and their insistent chirp and felt very blessed to be given the encounter.
Since then, I am aware of them even if I don’t see them…I hear their chirp or their wings and consider myself blessed every time. Ted Andrews says, in his “Animal Speak” book, that hummingbirds will “teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.” Yes, please.
Even though city life limits our connection with Nature, it’s still all around us. We are a big part of it but don’t usually think of ourselves that way: “We are human, Nature is everything else”. Try thinking more that We are Nature. We are part of everything and everyone around us, as they are part of us. Again, the more we are aware, the more we attain balance.
I hope these suggestions help. They’ve helped me.
With love and gratitude…