Starting to Stop

Plum Village Monk Relaxing in the Park

When the monks were in town, I noticed that whenever they had the opportunity, they stopped. Usually by lying down on the floor. If they had 5 minutes, it was 5 minutes, if they had an hour, then an hour. No matter what time of day it was, if they had the chance or need for a rest, they took it, practicing a little deep relaxation.

I’m a doer. I’m doing things all day long. Stopping is often difficult for me. Always something to read, something to write, email to check, something to do … I have a lot to learn still from the monks, but I’m discovering a few things that work:

Sometimes I go out onto the roof terrace and watch the starlings in the morning or evening sky – they worry about nothing but gliding around and catching flies – there is a lot to be learned from them!

Sometimes I sit on a bench in the park and watch joggers go by, or listen to the sounds of the park, look at the leaves of the trees in the breeze, or notice how odd it is that people can walk upright and not fall over!

Even just a few moments on the sofa with no book, no TV, no plans, can be a miracle of peace! Especially if I remember to just follow my breathing, or see how my body is feeling.

This week we are off on our summer holidays and I intend to stop quite a lot. Should I leave the laptop at home? Can I stop blogging here at for a few weeks? We’ll see! Getting obsessed about stopping everything doesn’t lead me to more happiness either!

I think I’ll just be peaceful, and let the holidays unfold, one day at a time.

3 Things…

1. A favourite video on stopping, from Plum Village:

2. A favourite blog: adventures in altruism from my friends Ian and Luis, full of wise words on living a more fulfilled and happier life.

3. Thank you! Happy Summer Holidays to you all. Thank you very much for reading this blog so far.

Back sooner or later (depending on how the stopping goes!) with more…


3 thoughts on “Starting to Stop

  1. Hi Ben. As always I enjoy reading your posts.
    I love just taking time to still my mind and enjoy how the passage of time presents us with the natural beauty that surrounds us. At times I sit with one of our cats trying to identify what distant sounds they are listening to.
    Enjoy your holidays.


  2. Please stop, Ben. Relax and have fun. But then come back with more about your mindfulness stories. I am enjoying your blog from the beginning.. 🙂

    Cheers from Bonn, Germany



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