By David Kundtz
One Minute Retreats from a Busy World
More than a meditation book, Quiet Mind is a series of reflections that can illuminate every aspect of life.
It offers readers guidance on using the moments between activities which the author calls "stillpoints" as opportunities to focus on becoming more fully awake to who they are.
"These times are the spaces in between the events of your life," writes Kundtz, "spaces often lost, or worse filled with anxiety. And these spaces in between are just waiting to bring you the calmness and clarity that an over-demanding schedule steals from you."
About the Author:
David Kundtz is a wellness author with a background in religion, psychology and public speaking. Learn more about him at his website Stopping.com
SPECIAL! Q&A with David Kundtz:
FGS: In Quiet Mind you write of ‘stillpoints’- times between activities where we should try to remember to be awake and focus on the moment even if nothing is currently happening. What is your advice to readers who suffer from anxiety? Do you feel it is caused from not properly using stillpoints?
DK: Certainly for most of us who experience a moderate degree of anxiety from time to time, Stillpoints – that is, being still and looking in for a moment or a few – can be a tremendous help in reducing that anxiety. It is guaranteed to bring you to the end of your day less stressed and more relaxed.
However, if the anxiety is chronic or severe, I would urge one to seek professional help. Moderate to severe anxiety is a very common condition and thus one that is often ignored or underestimated. There are several excellent approaches to reducing anxiety. A simple consultation with a professional can help you determine your approach.
In any case, incorporating the practice of Stillpoints will help reduce whatever anxiety you experience. Here’s an example of a Stillpoint for someone who works at a desk:
- Stop whatever you are doing for a moment or two
- Close your eyes, if convenient.
- Turn your focus inward and be as still as you can
- Focus on your breathing in and out…
- You can think an affirmation if you want: “All will be well…”
You can do the same thing while taking a brief walk, while you go to the restroom, walking to the copy machine.., and so on. Stillpoints are limited only by one’s imagination. See what you can come up with for a refreshing Stillpoint.
FGS: What initially inspired you to write this book? Was there a moment of self-awareness on your part where you realized you needed everyday peace-of-mind or that you weren’t fully awake?
DK: Quiet Mind grew directly out of my fist book, Stopping: How to Be Still When You Have to Keep Going. It is a practical application of the principles described in Stopping, which was written as you said, when I realized I “needed everyday peace-of-mind” and that I was a long way from being “fully awake.” In other words, I wrote the book because I so desperately needed it!
I firmly believe we all desperately need quiet, creative, peaceful, still time in our lives. Times just to be, not to do anything. We get so very little of that kind of time by simply responding to life and doing whatever comes at us. Practicing Stillpoints (and its companions Stopovers and Grinding Halts) restores a natural balance of being and doing
FGS: Do you have any personal tips for living a stress-free lifestyle?
DK: The people who are most stressed are the people for whom stress management is the most challenging. For example, the working mother is one of the most stressed people in our society and one for whom it is so difficult to practice any of the many ways to manage her stress. Why? She “does not have time!” That’s why I came up with Stillpoints. Everyone can find time to practice them. (For a more detailed description of Stillpoints, Stopovers, and Grinding Halts, See Stopping: How to Be Still When You Have to Keep Going)
My tip? Don’t forget to breathe! A few slow, deliberate, and fairly deep breaths will help every situation you face. We tend to tighten our breathing when we’re anxious or stressed. This kind of breathing will bring some oxygen to your brain and help to bring some relaxation.
FGS: Sometimes living in the moment and without anxiety is easier said than done. What is your advice to anyone living with grief or struggling to move forward from the past?
DK: It certainly is easier said than done. Living in the moment, I believe, is a life-long project. But we can steadily improve our practice. In regard to the question on grief, my (necessarily brief) response is: in order to move out of grief, first move into it. In other words, embrace it rather than avoid it. Grief is like the wolf at the door. You can hover in fear in the corner forever; the wolf will not go away. Or you can open the door, do battle, and then be free to get on with life. This response is, of course, very oversimplified, but the point I believe is accurate.
FGS: I read on your website that earlier in your career you were a public speaker on matters of emotional health. Do you still find time for public speaking? Any future projects fans can look forward to?
DK: I do very little public speaking these days. I have maybe two or three gigs a year now, and those are for specific groups and not public. Most of my time is spent on art and writing projects. Thanks for your interest.
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