What Is Stopping

Stopping is something that happens to everyone. You have experienced stopping many times in your life. Stopping is a time of being expanded beyond yourself.

It's in stopping that you're connected to something far greater than your mind and your emotions. It's during stopping that there is a deep knowing. In stopping there is a deep direct connection to your Higher Self, your Essence, God, a Higher Power; whatever term you use.

At the time of stopping is when the channel between you and God is much more open (again choose a word that works for you). Stopping can happen in times of great joy or even in great sadness; times when we are shaken or awakened. You can be physically active during stopping. You may be gardening or walking or talking with a friend.

When athletes are 'in the zone' this can be looked at as a form of stopping. Athletes will tell you that during that time it's almost effortless. They're so 'zoned in' that the great plays happen almost without them even trying. Athletes crave to be 'in the zone.' This feeling is what surfers love the most; a time of intensity and of letting go and being in the flow. 'Athletic stopping' has a big adrenaline influence and often feeds the ego; 'I was in the zone.' 'I surfed this huge wave.' Athletic stopping is being touched, though also usually has some ego boosting part to it. This ego component is not in the stopping that I am referring to. Stopping has a humbling, quieting, reverent quality to it.

It's in the stopping, even for brief moments of time, that we are affected by something and we're not in our usual mind and in our usual emotions. If stopping happens repeatedly each day, then we are shaken or awakened multiple times a day from our usual mind and emotions. As days and months go on, and we are shaken or awakened multiple times a day (even very briefly), then it gets harder to be in your usual mind and emotions throughout the entire day.

This deeper and direct connection happening again and again sets you on a much different course. Sometimes it's said that we just need to get out of our own way. Stopping is getting out of your own way. Stopping can happen at any moment. Stopping is not exclusive to meditation or to when your body is still. I use the word stopping to refer to an active state; whether your body is still or moving, and whether you're quiet or talking.

You Can Lead A Horse To Water, But You Can't Make It Drink
You can slow down or open yourself more to the possibility of stopping, but you cannot stop. I'll use the story of the horse and water to clarify this point. In the analogy of the horse and water, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. There are ways that you can open yourself more (bringing the horse to water) to the possibility of stopping (the horse drinking from the water).

The most known way of slowing down and bringing a greater possibility for stopping is meditation. Meditation is bringing the horse to water. During meditation, you wait and are open to being touched; open for stopping to happen. Stopping during meditation is one way to interpret Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God.

Stopping and Resuming and Stopping and Resuming and .....
Stopping can take you very unknowingly. Your body may be still in meditation or active in cooking or in walking. You're doing whatever you're doing and suddenly stopping happens. Then your mind will start thinking some very usual type of thoughts again or you may start worrying about something; and you feel that you're losing this special feeling. This is natural. Don't resist the mind or the emotions as they start going again. Don't try to hang on to stopping.

In stopping there is a breaking of the momentum of your normal day, your normal thoughts and feelings and then your life resumes with more normal feelings and thoughts. When stopping happens multiple times a day, you'll find that you don't go back to usual as quickly and as fully. There is a change that happens each time stopping happens. If stopping happens often enough you'll find that you're living your life with a very different quality, in a very different way, than your usual thinking and feeling.

Pema Chodron
I credit Pema Chodron with bringing stopping more greatly into my life. Pema Chodron is one of my most favorite people in the world. She said that if she could recommend only one practice for a person to do in their life it would be stopping.

Pema goes on to say that stopping may be for an instant or for a short period of time; rarely, if ever (for most people), for minutes. She said that stopping interrupts the momentum of your life at that moment. Once the stopping is over, you'll not be able to quickly go back to the same momentum. As you experience stopping more frequently, your life will change in a very special way.

Closing Comments
As I wrote earlier, stopping is something that comes over us; not something that we can manifest. During the time of stopping there is a more direct connection to Wisdom and Grace. There are different levels or depths of stopping.
Stopping and full breathing are, for me, two essentials of living.

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