Stillness…finding freedom to BE

still 1 (stl) adj. still·er, still·est

1. Free of sound. 2. Low in sound; hushed or subdued. 3. Not moving or in motion. 4. Free from disturbance, agitation, or commotion. 5. Free from a noticeable current: a still pond; still waters.

I facilitate a learning community dedicated in part to mindfulness, being aware in the moment, but I recently found myself NOT doing it so much for myself outside of my working hours, and even sometimes during them. It seems that when I don’t find and take those moments of regeneration and stillness for myself, undesirable things often pop up. Fairly quickly those “series of unfortunate events” turn me (thankfully) once again to the importance and action of me sitting, listening and being still.

So, I found myself sitting in the sun under a few palm trees while on our winter break, taking some quiet time to listen to a recorded talk about finding peace and stillness.

The talk was about realizing how important it is for ALL of us to take moments each day to be “still”, to be silent inside and out, so that we can hear and feel the moment …and feel “guided” by that wise inner voice as we travel on our daily paths. The speakers also shared some suggestions for finding and taking the time and space to do just that, amidst what seems to be a constant “pull” to be busy. There were SO many good ideas which I really needed.

Towards the end of the talk, one of the speakers, Tony Lobl, added that he sees a trend of trying to “chase out boredom with excitement rather than enlightenment”. And I had one of those “YES” moments, loving the way that he had put it…SO true. I see SO often that the desire for happiness (which really does come from feeling peaceful inside…feeling touched by something beautiful or true and pure) is often sideswiped or replaced with searching for things that will excite us or fill our moments…from music, to rollercoasters, to friends, to movies and video games, to new technological “toys”, or other high-energy items, including energy drinks! Many of those activities are fine in moderation, but I truly believe that EACH of us, from a newborn babe, to a toddler, a teen, a college student, parent, grandparent, etc. is really searching for that perfect moment…one in which one feels true peace with oneself or feels aware of, and connected with, a sense of the essence of who we are.

In my work I often see that many of us are very uncomfortable with quiet or unplanned moments…we say we feel “bored” and want a quick fix from that “uncomfortable” moment or period. In our current times of activity-crammed moments and the pressure to do that all the time,  many of us haven’t had the “practice opportunities” to find ourselves with unplanned or quiet time, so it is feels foreign and very uncomfortable. But as we practice taking those quiet moments together at Scholars, using a variety of techniques to reach stillness, that sense of boredom and uncomfortableness gradually melts away and leads us to moments of inspiration, self-knowledge, intuition, and the ability to hear the wisdom that resonates within us. We glimpse that we are much more the master of our thoughts, actions, and movements than we had known. We see that it is not only okay to have unplanned or quiet moments, it is a generator of peace and happiness. It affords us the knowledge that what is happening inside of us isn’t necessarily dependent on what is happening on the outside of us… what we often think is happening “to us”. We find that where we put our thoughts, and often the ability to put our thoughts aside, leads us to an excitement that is far more satisfying and long-lasting than even a rollercoaster…and that we can attain it on our own.

Though many of us have certain techniques that help us to calm down and restore an attitude of peace when needed, such as sketching, or listening to music, taking a walk or such, there are many times when we can’t go off and do those things. But we CAN take a few quiet moments wherever we may be, or even just a few mindful breaths in order to bring us back to our pure, inner, peaceful wisdom, whether it’s five minutes among the palm trees, or two minutes before your morning shower.

“When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere”
François de la Rochefoucauld

written by Tien Stone Langlois, Director of Scholars Together Learning Community, Inc.

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