The next morning when I went out to walk the dog the sky was clear and blue. It was a pleasant temperature and there was little wind. How serene! How tranquil! What a difference from the night before!
Erin Diedling has written a blog article about Inner Stillness. I hope it helps you find the serenity and tranquility within you!
PS to all dads out there – “Happy Father’s Day”
A friend asked me recently what I’d be doing on a recent vacation. I responded with great joy and a big smile, a resounding, “nothing”.
Our culture values doing and productivity. It’s our right as Americans to do and be productive. We take pride in and give value to being a productive nation – and rightly so. As a culture, we’re wonderfully productive. And in order to keep up with the value of doing and productivity, we have these remarkable vending outlets for caffeine to help us keep doing all day…Starbux, 5 Hour Energy, Red Bull, sodas, etc.
And then, there is the less often valued concept of stillness. Stillness is just as immediate as a caffeine fix, (perhaps even more so if you wait for the caffeine to take effect) but it is so elusive. What is this stillness? What is the calm, tranquility, the peace of it? How do you get to it?
Often we fear the stillness because it seems that there is something in between oneself and the availability of the still experience. This is often true of much of the eating disorder behaviors we treat at The Awakening Center. The behaviors are often well-intentioned but misguided attempts to get to a point of stillness.
When I teach meditation, this is the messy thing. Everything that stands in the way of the person being still will come up. Some traditions call it the “monkey mind”. One way to get past the messiness of moving toward stillness is to think of stillness as an anchored boat (your presence of mind) and think of the anxious thoughts as nothing more than waves passing by.
Stillness is all about non-doing. Stillness is a way of being (vs. the oft applauded doing). Getting to stillness seems such a nice concept in theory, but how do we get to stillness? There are those rare people, you know who you are, who seem to have a grace or a peace about their very nature. For the rest of us, stillness, non-movement, non-doing may begin with a decision – a simple intention to be still.
Stillness often involves being grounded in the present moment. Some ways I’ve seen that work for people to get into the present moment and find stillness:
***Taking a deep breath or even letting out a sigh has physiological impact that allows for stillness.
***Noticing beauty, in the color of the sky, a type of intrigue in architecture, or a flower growing next to the sidewalk, seeing a meaningful exchange between two people, stopping for a pedestrian at a crosswalk and simply noticing. In the city, design is a form of beauty and allows us an opportunity to be present.
***In a Tich Nhat Han book, the buddhist monk describes the tail lights on a car at a stop light as the eyes of the Buddha smiling.
***Being present with the smell, taste and texture of food.
***Doodling gets a mixed review, but actually allows the higher part of the mind to be present and free.
***Journaling can be a gateway to stillness by allowing one to be in the moment with emotions and thoughts.
***Bathing – water is a gateway to stillness that speaks at profound levels.
***Sitting with our breath and noticing our breath.
***Something as simple as feeling wrapped in a blanket or resting on a pillow and the noticing the texture, warmth, feel of it. Allowing oneself to be comforted by the feel of it.
What are the ways that bring you to stillness? When have you felt still? How can you bring more of that into your life. What do you get to have if you allow more stillness into your life? Maybe you can give yourself permission to bring in the still. You’re worth it!
Erin Diedling, MEd, LPC
(773) 929-6262 x19