Time in Stillness
Personal evolution requires time – time to process and time to simply Be. Being still for a while and do absolutely nothing, simply resting in who we essentially are, should, by rights, be the most natural and easy thing we could do, but these days we have to counter an enormous weight of conditioning that tells us we should be productive, every moment of the day!
It wasn’t always so. In the none too distant past, people spent hours looking into a fire, gazing at the sky, or watching the world go by. We no longer feel we have time for this. An extraordinary thing has happened! Whole chunks of our society find it easier to do hours of highly complex, intellectual computer tasks than spend twenty minutes sitting still, simply ‘being.’
For some people, meditation has become an activity they schedule in their calendar and daytimer, giving their still time legitimacy. For others, when the suggestion of meditation comes to mind, perhaps the quiet space feels too many gears away and its easier to think, ‘oh, some other time. I have too much I want to do…”
How did it come to be that busy-ness and striving would be preferred to inner peace?
Through the classroom window a child sees a bird in flight and is totally absorbed in an awed stillness. The reverie abruptly halts when the teacher curtly shouts that the child get back to work. No doubt this happened to all of us. What did we learn? That we have to stay cognitive and productive or we get into trouble.
What else did we learn? We saw that being sensitive and intuitive never got us an ‘A’ – we only got ‘A’s for getting our math and spelling correct. Obviously intellectual achievement is way more worthwhile than being intuitive or spacious, which seemingly has absolutely no value in school.
We may also have observed that those who ‘get ahead’ tend to be those who value their ambitions more than their leisure and fun time. Their deadlines are more important than their physical well-being, and productivity is the cornerstone of their religion. Even thought they are often up-tight, mainstream society seems to value these people. They are thought to be ‘doing well’ even if they are terribly unhappy in their striving.
Voila! We have all the basic mental ingredients to counteract fun, simplicity and stillness. Put the intellect in the driver’s seat of our lives, and we are automatically programmed to be on the rat-race treadmill. Yet this still time is what we need to balance the business, giving us an inner witnessing power that prevents us submerging in work. Inner stillness also gives us the power to witness arising emotions and strangeness during spiritual awakening.
It’s worth each of us taking some time to re-investigate the values we run your life by. Are they our own or did we learn them? Do your values reflect your heart? What values would you change, and how? You are the master of your mind, so your programming can be up-graded or replaced by an entirely new software.
If you had the choice between a high ranking career and the peaceful radiance of an enlightened Buddha, which would you choose? And if you choose the Buddha’s radiance, do you have the power to maintain this vision when the majority of society puts more value on constant productivity and maintaining intellectual control over our lives (and others!) ?
To set time aside to be still we must put aside cultural beliefs that counteract this need. It takes observation to understand our own minds, the collective mind and the environment that helped program our minds. We don’t live in isolation, we live in community. Once a few ideas are reinvestigated, clarity emerges, and your clarity helps the whole community. To be healthy, we need to slow down and get in touch with ourselves.
Inner stillness is forever present. Its presence is felt when the striving melts and the complexity comes to rest. Time in stillness is the most natural and easy state of being. It is our basis. It’s also where healing happens effortlessly.