✨M O U N A✨
Silence. A sacred space in your day for you and your spirit. Mouna wasn’t something I practised too much of before I did my meditation TT last year but for that four months we had to practise one hour a day of pure silence. No people, no tv, no internet, books, computer, radio conversations or podcasts. And for me it changed everything. Now I try to get at least 20 minutes in every day - easy if it's a work day, when this increases to an hour, not so easy when the children are around :-)
What is Mouna?
The purpose of mouna is to shut off any external influences that may come in, any ‘noise’ that may take you away from experiencing the present moment in its most beautiful form. When we deliberately and consciously take time in the day to actually practise silence (because it takes practice!), we are teaching ourselves to detach from the thoughts that come and go. Meditation begins with concentration, and only happens when we have been able to detach from our mind and body, and this first step is made all the easier if we are already cultivating space to fully immerse ourselves in the present.
Mouna isn’t meditation as such, but by taking some time, even just fifteen minutes a day, to turn inwards, to listen to nature, to feel the breeze, to create, move, the effects that has on a meditation practice can be profound. I notice especially when I use my phone and computer less, my eyes are able to find steadiness in visualisation; when I listen to one enriching podcast (rather than three mediocre ones) and then turn off, my mind is more settled; I can digest information more efficiently, form opinions and thoughts that come from a higher space.
But mouna can be challenging...
Our modern life doesn’t leave a lot of room for peace and quiet but mouna can be a way of finding a moment of stillness amidst the chaos. I’ve always loved my own company but I know that for many it can be a real challenge...and it’s completely understandable that that could be the case.
Many of us have been brought up surrounded by TV, gossip columns, smart phones, social media, news that serves only to separate us, not just from the present but from each other, and when we consciously decide to turn all the external chatter off it's easy to feel a bit lost, insecure or anxious. Hopefully if you feel this way, the tips below will help you to feel safe as you create this space for yourself (and your Self!).
Creating a Mouna Practice
To begin to build mouna into your day the best thing to start with is is to turn any device off, get away from other people and set a timer for ten minutes and then just get on with your day (doing your best to remove yourself of words or 'unnatural' (probably the wrong word!) sound i.e. recorded sound like music (however beautiful it may be) - this is about time to yourself. This could include (but is by no means limited to):
- going for a walk around the block, by the beach or river or in a local park,
- going for a run/bike ride or practising yoga/movement of some kind
- drawing or painting,
- sewing or knitting,
- just sitting and listening to the birds.
Then increase this time every week to the point where it can slot into your life without too much faff and notice the effects it has on your emotions, your practice if you have one (your motivation to create one if you don’t 😊), your sense of Self in general.
When 'hindering' thoughts come up, like self-deprecation, comparison, anxieties, notice these approaching, stay with them, perhaps saying to yourself: 'I see you, I acknowledge your presence and I allow you to pass and go on your way.' Come back to the breath and continue with whatever it is you're doing. The more we can detach from our thoughts, the more we begin to see that 'I am not my thoughts'. In that moment of realisation, the question then arises, then what am I? And this, my friend, is a moment of true creativity. What exists in that space? What is that essence that burns brightly inside of you that is truly you, your Self in all its beauty?
Do you practice mouna? How has it helped you? If you don’t, have a go and let me know how you get on. .
Sending lots of love, Helen x