Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself. – Hermann Hesse
There was once a simpler, quieter time. There was a time before your cell phone would regularly light-up with text messages, email notifications, Twitter updates or Facebook statuses. This time has been taken over by the seemingly urgent, but it has not fully disappeared.
Somewhere waiting on the other side of Smartphones, televisions and the internet is a place called stillness. In this place, you will find peace, relief and a chance to re-focus. Finding stillness is not a science, but it is becoming more difficult. Once reclaimed, stillness can add more value than any modern-day communication device.
What is stillness?
Stillness is a state of complete awareness. It is a place to reconnect with the knowledge and truth of your own spirit. Stillness allows you to search for the answers and it’s a place of calmness and certainty. However, in addition to the contemporary forces working against stillness, there are some traditional ones, too:
Recognizing the signs and symptoms associated with each one is the first step to finding a place where serenity, along with some self-healing, can be found.
Breaking through the noise requires conscious effort – and practice. The following techniques will help you move into a place of sustained and nurturing stillness.
- Practice being dead quiet.
Doing nothing might feel uncomfortable because your habit is the opposite. Staying connected is the new expectation. But to find stillness, complete and dead quiet is needed.
Rather than just shutting down without first telling your co-workers, friends and family, consider setting an auto-responder on your email and changing your Twitter and Facebook statuses to let folks know you will be unavailable for a while.
With these strategies in place, it’s time to turn off you phone and power down your computer. Practice sitting and doing nothing. Allow thoughts to come to you without pushing them away. Sit with your feelings, memories and daydreams. Take-in the dead quiet and then listen for the truths it will be whispering. These truths will be things that will touch you deeply because they will feel natural and right.
- Recognize the signs working against stillness.
The traditional obstacles to stillness (the ones listed above) are warning signs that your mind and body are not in alignment. When you mind is at unrest; so is your body. Pay attention to the nights when your sleep is interrupted; the days you are irritable and the times you fall into a rut and can’t seem to pull yourself out.
All of these are signs pointing to the need for finding stillness.
- Look for balance.
Understanding that your responsibilities may prevent you from disconnecting on a regular basis, look for a balance of what you can achieve, and when, as it relates to finding stillness.
You may not be able to step away from your email during the day, but what about for 30 minutes in the evening? Your expectation to be available at all times may not be shared by others. In other words, it’s perfectly reasonable to have some down time each day – but it’s your responsibility to give yourself this.
Look for balance. Look for the appropriate times when you can sit and do nothing; even if it’s for only a few minutes. Balance is about reasonableness and looking for the gray in a world that is not always black and white. And in the gray, when you close your eyes, stillness is waiting.
- Take advantage of the ordinary.
Stillness can be found in ordinary daily events. While it’s optimal to put yourself in a state of dead stillness; this may not always be practical. Instead, look for opportunities to practice stillness as you go about your day.
For example, during your commute to and from work, turn off the radio or eject the CD and allow your car to be filled with silence. Use this time to center yourself and reflect on the day to come or the day that has passed. When standing in the grocery store check-out line, capitalize on the fact you can’t do anything but wait and then focus on the preciousness of a still mind.
Your day will present ordinary moments you can turn into extraordinary moments of stillness when you make the commitment to see these opportunities in a quieter way.
A place called stillness
In this place called stillness a simpler, quieter time is restored. Your focus shifts from the immediate and to the permanent. You are given the time to explore more than just what’s in front of you.
In this place called stillness you can look beyond your email’s Inbox or Twitter feed and all the way to your heart. Once you get there, stay for a while. Ask questions, think through problems, and dream anything you wish.
Stillness provides knowledge and the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the life you are creating without the expectation to reply right away. In this place called stillness you will find a resting place for your soul.