I recently posted about how I dropped into stillness in the middle of Aldi and my husband has been laughing about it…for days! ‘What does that even mean?’ he said. He has a point.
What does dropping into stillness actually mean? Because before it happened to me, I had it explained countless times, but never quite got it. So, I am going to try and put it down in words, which is difficult, because it so hard to describe.
According to the dictionary, stillness is defined as ‘the quality of being quiet and not moving’ yet what I am trying to express is so much more than that.
An article in Edge Magazine, calls stillness ‘the language of the soul’ and while I love that phrase, it’s doesn’t quite nail it if you are new to spiritual practice.
I’m going to start by listing a few things that stillness isn’t:
• Feeling irritated when you’re stuck in a traffic jam
• Hating your boss
• Bingewatching your favourite TV show
• Worrying that you are not good enough
• Resigning yourself to failure
• Judging others
• Bearing a grudge
• Worrying about stuff that happened in the past
• Fretting about the future
I could go on, because the list is endless. These are all things that take place within the thinking mind and are connected the ego. It’s the part of us that dominates our lives, runs the show. It often drives us to do things based on past events – I started working with a spritual mentor when I realised that my life was being run largely by an eight-year-old version of me. Would you want to get into a car being driven by an eight year old? No. It is far too stressful.
Stillness takes place when you can tune out of the incesscent chatter of your mind and rest in an ocean of inner calm. It feels a bit like that first glass of wine or the moment when you plunge into a swimming pool on holiday just hours after getting off the plane. It is both peaceful and invigorating.
In stillness, you are no longer attached to things, people, places…three dimensional stuff that ordinarily feels so important. You feel joyous, safe and loved all at once. You kind of know, on a very deep level, that everything is going to be okay.
Are you still struggling? Imagine if you could take a drug that would take away your fear and anxiety and leave you feeling totally blissed out, clear-headed and calm. That is stillness. That is why I spend so much time, effort and money chasing it. That isn’t to say it is something that must be ‘chased’ for it is always there. Marion described it yesterday during our online silent retreat as a bit like the sky and the weather. Weather patterns come and go, but neverending blue skies are always underneath.
I did the aforementioned one-day online silent retreat from home in a bid to find some stillness. It’s especially important for me at this time of year in the run up to Christmas when things are really hectic.
Miraculously, the day itself was remarkably still. The sun shone, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind. It was quiet here too. I barely heard a sound.
In the morning, I struggled to settle, feeling guilty that I was wasting a day when there was so much to do, but by the afternoon, the stillness had got me. I didn’t have a full on blissed out experience, but my inner calm rating had gone from about an 8 in the morning, to a 4 by the afternoon, with 0 being so calm, you are practically levitating.
Today, I feel, as my 16-year-old daughter would say, a lot more chill. I like chill. I could do with more of it. Now I am off to a friend’s yoga class. Work deadlines are looming, but I am sure I’ll be on fire after an hour or so of downward dog and the like.
As for stillness, have you got it yet? Don’t worry if you haven’t. It’s in you. It’s everywhere and if you really want it, mark my words, it will come for you!
To find out more about online silent retreats and some free stuff that might help you find inner stillness, take a look at my spiritual mentor’s website.