What happens when we are still?
Are we ever really still? We can still our bodies, but the mind continues, there's always a current of energy being processed and analyzed.
How still can you be? How do you reach a state of stillness? It all hinges on our ability to see still as a verb, as an action.
We can't just sit and be still. Or I can't anyways. Can you? Have you tried meditation? Just clear your mind they say, try to think of nothing. When I try to think about nothing, I think about anything and everything.
What does it mean to still yourself? We have the physical space discussed yesterday that will set the stage for stillness, and identifying this space is the crucial first step. But once we're in there, how do we find a way to be still?
For example, this exercise I'm doing now, I’m not focused on it. I’m out of practice. I let this routine slip, and with it my ability to focus and be still. Right now, while writing, I'm thinking about how this post is going (terribly), and I'm struggling with it, fighting it, not happy with the direction.
I'm thinking about actually posting it and finding a catchy line and making a colorful punchy image out of something here. I'm thinking about work and my job search and everything else going on today.
What I am not doing is appreciating this chance to be still.
I am not listening to this call to action. I am not focused. That is maybe the hardest request: be still.
But it's the most important, especially right now as the years with my daughters race by, as I put tons of energy into resumes and job applications instead of a poem or a love letter or reading or building a business or even just breathing. To be still, and stay connected to the sensations I encounter every day, regardless of what task I'm performing, this is the goal. To feel the breeze, to look up and see the clouds at sunrise, to wake when my daughter coughs, to finish a book, or kiss my wife, all of these sensations are felt more when I can find the time to be still.
But all of these sensations, they are whispers. And this is a conversation, and you must participate, you must listen and whisper in return to hear and feel these sensations.
To be still, what a gift. To be still, and make room to hear and feel this space, what an honor. To be still and let the natural rhythm of the world wash over me, to be immersed in that rhythm, what a glorious experience.
Now, some tactical talk: how do we literally still our hearts and minds? Use the breath. When I focus on my breath, and use equal breathing and breath holding to quiet the noise in my physical space, ah wow, now that’s where I can become still.
This is where everything stops for a moment. This is where I connect with peace of mind. This is where I begin to hear the faint whispers, as Williams mentions in the quote, those most meaningful, insightful, clarified whispers that are so effective at stilling the mind and grounding the body, and pointing you in the direction of purpose.