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  • Aditi Surana


‘Pause’ is a choice of the privileged mind.

Today I woke up with a determination to go for a walk. I think Bombay’s sudden romantic monsoon was the culprit. All the lanes around my house are covered with canopies. The light filtering through hundreds of leaves, especially on a cloudy day like today, can possibly make you fall in love.

Something caught my eye as I walked past one of my all-time favourite trees - an old, wise peepal.

Ashwattha - it’s Sanskrit name. ‘Ashwa’ means horses and ‘tha’ means paused or stayed. A place where horses (and people) sought shelter in the night.

Over the years I have read a lot about the peepal and have never stopped getting fascinated by the veins in its leaves. You will find several of them in my old books and in my line artwork.

After all these years, I get equally fascinated when I observe the tiny leaves that look almost purple, just like a newborn baby. The bright green colours of the new fresh leaves almost fought for my attention. I loved every moment that I was hanging out with my ‘friend’.

When was the last time you paused like this? Have we lost the art of being absorbed by the little things around us? I meet people who are highly accomplished in their professional lives but without the ability to pause and smell the flowers, savour the bite, or look deep into someone’s eyes.

They make time to reach places and still no matter where they go, they still carry their mental chatter around with them. They are excessively preoccupied. Some are busy pushing their past under the carpet and others are occupied building bridges to reach their goals. Most people believe that pausing and absorbing the moment is a function of time. The currency that they lack. However, luckily that is not the case. Those who know how to pause and pay attention can penetrate all the unnecessary mental chatter.

I want to reach out to all the overthinkers who simply cannot start with a clean slate. No matter how hard they try, they get entangled with their emotional baggage. Think about it. How long will you be carrying the unresolved memories around? The preoccupied mind gets so used to its busy business that you feel bored and unsettled when you have even a single idle moment and unknowingly pick your phone and automatically open one of the attention-seeking apps. Have you ever wondered why you do it?

This month we are extensively talking about emotional baggage and the ways to process as well let go of this baggage in India's first mental gym - APT. We will be creating many videos and posts around emotional baggage. If you feel weighed down by such baggage then try this tool from the mental gym toolbox - ‘lead with your body’.

"When the body is helpless, lead with your mind.
When the mind is useless, lead with your body." Aditi Surana

Workout, cooking, walking, making your cup of coffee. As you take action, start observing your breath. Consciously breathe slightly deeper. Your mind may start flooding with thoughts about other things or people. Whenever you catch yourself drifting, simply ‘PAUSE’ and get your attention on your breathing over and over.

I call it a ‘pause in action’. You know what it feels like if you have been a practitioner of a calm sutra sssss stroke. If you do not know what it is, then learn it right away. With some practice, the pause will turn into poise. You will start pausing multiple times a day. And before you know you will feel the poise in the middle of your stressful day.

Try it and tell me how you feel about it. I am always curious to witness big stories of small everyday transformations.

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