The benefits of stopping

Getting off your Wayward Horse

Something that I have realised over the years is that insight and awareness are fundamental precursors of effective change. With insight, often gained by looking at a situation from a different perspective, you become free to move in different ways than before, and that freedom of movement allows you to make the changes you want.

In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book ‘the Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching’, he says that to have insight we must stop. If we cannot stop, we cannot have insight.

He tells a story about a man and a horse. A man is walking along a road one day when a horse and rider gallop up behind him. The horse is moving quickly and it appears that the man on the horse is going somewhere important. As the rider passes, the man on foot shouts to him ‘’Where are you going?’’ to which the rider replies ‘’I don’t know! Ask the horse!’’

How often have you felt like you are running along, not knowing where you are going, but not being able to stop?

Constantly running has become a habit, and our habit-energy pulls us along. The trouble is that habits are not always good for us. We have to learn the art of stopping our thinking, our bad habits, and the unhelpful emotions that rule us. Stop restlessness, agitation, despair, anger and craving.

Unless we distinguish the habits we have which act against us being at our best, they will continue to propel us like a rider on an unresponsive horse.

When we become aware of these patterns in ourselves, we can deal with them effectively. To becom aware of these destructive habits takes being still for a moment, and by doing so, you can see the habits from a different perspective. With the stopping comes insight. With insight, being at your best is possible.

If you took the time to stop for a moment, you might choose another horse which is going in a direction that serves you, and your previously unattainable objective suddenly becomes possible again.

So take a little time to stop – be still. It might be a minute a day, or a day a week, or a whole year sabbatical. The length of time is not critical, but learning the habit of stopping and seeing where you are going will definitely help you be at your best.

And if you would like some help getting off the back of your wayward horse and choosing a more productive one, do give me a call.

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About theclaritycoach

Paul Stonehouse is an experienced coach, educator and speaker, and is completely committed to helping people perform at their best. His particular passion is helping people move forward when they are stuck, enabling them to live and work a in a way which is a confident expression of their true selves.
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