Finding stillness

by Fe Robinson

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Meditation and mindfulness are often  promoted as ways to find inner piece, and stillness. Yet many people find that when they begin to meditate, what they find is a noisy, busy mind that is anything but still. 

I recently listened to a beautiful talk about stillness while at a meditation group.  I wanted to share what were described as the essential components of stillness, having found them meaningful and stimulating myself.

The speaker described three conditions that we can put in place to give ourselves the best chance of connecting with the stillness of which we are a part, and that is already within us.

They are solitude, silence, and simplicity.  I will describe what each means to me in a moment, but first I think it's important to note that you can not only find these conditions on a meditation cushion. You can find them in a multitude of places, because in part they are about a state of mind.

Solitude
We all know it is possible to be lonely in a crowd, and to feel connected when on our own.  Solitude is about locating our sense of gravity within our own self, rather than out there in other people or things.  Its about being able to be alone, or in company, but being boundaried and contained in our own skin. Finding a sense of solitude within yourself is deeply grounding. It's coming home to a place that already knows you deeply, and letting yourself rest there.

Silence
Silence is not silent. Silence is about finding a quiet spot, free from TV and electronic devices, chatter and deliberate distraction, and engaging and noticing what is there to be heard in that quiet space.  Birds, leaves rustling, the distant sound of traffic, the rain drumming on the skylight...even if there are none of these sounds silence has it's own sound and there are sounds in our mind's ear. Silence is about giving yourself the space to notice what is there, within and without, when it is not drowned out by artificial noise.

Simplicity
It is much easier to find stillness in a life that is not over-crowded. Finding a rhythm and balance that does not involve moving from activity to activity to activity is important. Having enough time and space to see clearly, to pause and rest. This reminds me of the concept of yielding, the first physiological response we use as a tiny baby, resting into what holds us and finding comfort there. Simplicity is about stripping back to what really matters, and letting the rest go, making life as simple as it can be.

Solitude, silence and simplicity can be present in any moment we evoke them in. A walk along the beach. A hike in the hills.  Sitting in the garden.  To be more connected to your own stillness, how will you touch in to them in your own life?

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