Times of stress and uncertainty can make the practice of simple stillness seem small and fruitless. We live in a culture where keeping current, active and stimulated is not just a norm, but a demand. As a spiritual practitioner, you may even find that your meditations can feel like continuations of this ceaseless state of notifications and updates. The distractions of our world make it difficult to fully embrace the peace and calm that are necessary for us to receive the guidance we are seeking.
The practice of resting in a state of stillness is essential to our spiritual development. When we are able to step away from our feeds and phones in order to allow our inner feelings the space to be seen and heard, we make room for the wisdom and revelations that were previously too buried with noise to come forward and inform us.
What is this quality of stillness? It would be a mistake to equate stillness with nothingness. As a painter, I enjoy the analogy of a blank canvas to describe stillness. If you stare at it, the white will take on hues of the light and color that surrounds it. These shades will even intensify if you keep staring, making the canvas glow. This state heightens your senses and it is then that you can experience yourself in both a direct and a clear way. You can see into space around you and experience life as a separate being but as part of the whole. For me this is inner peace, a stillness in action, a stillness full of life.
The experience of stillness is unique to everyone, but what is universal is the challenge of disciplining the mind and centering in the heart. The pressures of the times combined with our default inclination to productivity can make this activity difficult. That said, if you can take a quiet minute to go within yourself and find your place of peace, it will serve you long after you have returned to the engagements of the day.
How do we access this place of stillness? In my practice as a career therapist, I would have my clients rest their mind then link to their heart. The heart in this instance is the instrument that we use to connect to our center, our Higher Self, also known as the wise-being within. When we are connected to this core center (the Higher Self) by way of the heart, we then have access to the peace and stillness of the greater world and we can go deeper on the journey of self-discovery.
Since we are all unique, each person has their own optimal method to find their peaceful center. The following exercise may help you to find yours:
Find a quiet place and sit comfortably. Take some deep breaths and relax your body, breathing deeply until you feel peaceful within.
Try to rid your mind of thoughts and feelings. Next link with your heart in the middle of your chest.
Try to experience the heart. It can be a slight pressure, a movement, a light or even an image.
When you feel you are experiencing it, place the question in your heart: What is a process that will help me come to a place of inner peace?
You may have thoughts or even feelings come up that give you direction.
If nothing comes up for you, place the following question in your heart: Is there anything blocking me from getting an answer?