Stillness - A quality of presence

Stillness and movement

Stillness is often thought of as that which is opposite to movement, yet as we start to learn more about stillness we may well be surprised to find that it is in fact a very energetic quality of presence.

There will be times when we think stillness has gone, lost to the sheer notion of just getting through life, the challenges we face, the busy noise of the day-to-day, but stillness is ever-present, just waiting under the surface level. Stillness is always there, we may have simply become disconnected from it.

As we become still, we create space, space where we can respond instead of reacting to life, to see things clearly and from a very present point of view. Stillness can be a refuge and a balm to the soul in the midst of a busy life.

Stillness is often hidden from view when we try hard to seek it when we so desperately try to conjure it up in our lives.

But there it will always be, just waiting. Feet on the floor, look and listen, leave everything utterly alone, no right or wrong, just an acceptance, a gentle kindness, and there it will be like water settling naturally, becoming still and mirror-like.

Accessing our internal resources through stillness

Stillness can help us to meaningfully shape our lives but it is not always the easiest thing to access. Pausing is not typically our first response to stimuli, particularly if it may seem uncomfortable. We have a natural tendency to want to "do something", to get things done which may well have served us well but what if some of these ways are unhelpful? Often our reactions can prevent us from seeing and getting a clear understanding of exactly what is happening.

Practicing pausing and accessing stillness, can very gently start to build the capacity to be with life rather than running away from it, we start to be able to tap into deep resources of strength, wisdom, intuition, resilience, and ways to cope that we never thought possible.

Of course, stillness isn't a fix-all, there may be times when we really do need to work through things, sometimes we need help from others and I will be the first to say always reach out, talk, if something is uncomfortable, find that person you can talk to, go gently. The prompt here is to know deep down that all of us have a deep well of resources, ready and waiting and so often these resources only come forward when we take the time to pause and to become still. Ultimately this leads to freedom, choice, and helpful action.

A quiet voice

Within us is a quiet voice, a voice of reason, a voice of intuition. Very often this voice gets drowned out by our thoughts, particularly if we spend a big proportion of our day on autopilot, going from one task to the next without pausing and becoming still even for a short moment.

The quiet voice of intuition is always there, it has got your back. Kindness, gentleness, compassion for oneself, is never far away and goes hand in hand with practicing stillness.

We cannot stop our thoughts, doing so will give us a very bumpy ride, stillness is not an absence of thinking, but rather an observation, we can notice thoughts like clouds drifting by in the sky, they come and they go. Some of our thoughts are useful, but many are not, in the stillness we get to see this clearly.

Simply noticing

Simply noticing what is going on around you is a powerful pause. Can you make the intention today or at some point this week to take a little walk around your neighbourhood if you can, or somewhere that you like to walk and simply notice?

Maybe at first, you notice what you can see, cars, people, trees, houses, but is there something subtler underneath this? noticing your body moving as you walk, or your feet touching the ground and earth on every step, the sensation of a breeze.

How about smells? Exhaust, flowers, food cooking, or just fresh air? What smells are you drawn to, can you let them come and go?

Maybe you notice sounds, birds singing, children playing, traffic, the sound of your own breathing, or your feet as they touch the ground.

Just witnessing this ebb and flow as you walk with no other intention, other than to simply notice.

Sitting in the middle

We can very gradually build up our ability to pause and slow things down, there is no rush. If we have been very busy, our minds racing for a long time, we need to take things slowly, little steps every day, 5 to 10 minutes of pausing, peppered through the day, starting with simply noticing.

The more we learn to pause, the more we start to see that there is a place of stability amidst the chaos, a refuge, a place we can rest in stillness in the middle of it all.

That refuge is always there, it never goes away, at times it gets covered over, but gradually as we come back to stillness and pausing, there it will be again waiting to offer you some stability and clarity.

Go gently, may you have a week filled with ease and kindness, from R 🌳

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