Step 5) Look around (pratayahara) "Silence. All human unhappiness comes from not knowing how to stay quietly in a room." - Blaise Pascal
You're on a trip! Leave your cell phone at home. No need to check emails or texts. The office will do just fine without you for a while. Take the time to notice your new surroundings. What do you see?
We're bombarded by technology. We're checking our Facebook and Twitter accounts and texting in order to maintain relationships that used to involve having coffee and a natter with each other. Not to mention the fact that we're pulled in a lot of directions and wear a lot of hats. So it's no wonder that ADD is on the rise. No wonder anti-anxiety and depression medications are so common place. Don't get me wrong, I think they have there place in our society and I'm super grateful that they have been available to family and friends that truly benefit from them. But let's not neglect the fact that we can do things that bring healing into our lives and help alleviate the stress that we've, at times, allowed to consume us.
When the body is strong, but relaxed (as the previous steps have helped us with) We can then prepare the mind. "Uh oh! Where is she going with this?" you might ask. Relax! We're just closing our eyes or if that makes you uncomfortable, gaze softly down your nose. When we give our 5 senses a break, we restore our body, mind and soul more completely than when we just have a physical practice. We give our eyes a break from the lights, from the constant demand of advertisers and spreadsheets and computer screens and everything else that they see. We bring our attention inside and notice what we see there. We hear the outside world happening as we sit with our eyes closed, but we ask ourselves to listen now to our breath. After a while, actively try an hear what's happening inside. Does your body say 'feed me' or 'stop feeding me so much!' After it stops shouting, what do you hear. Are your thoughts all over the place? Can you even separate one thought from another? This is prayahara or withdraw of the senses inward. It gets easier with practice.