A few moments of stillness every day take us closer to our inner self and the divinity within.
One day my daughter asked me why people become sick? My answer led to another question and then another. I tried to explain to her how healthy food, regular exercise and being worry-free will help us live a healthy life. She immediately asked very casually… “Then, why do you get worried at times?”
It came as a pointed dart to me. I wondered ‘How much my little one is observing and how right her question is?’
Though I fully understand how worrying is not going to solve any problem, sometimes it comes as a natural response in adverse situations. It led to some pondering and some beautiful realization.
The world’s running fast,
And so are we,
In our life’s marathon,
With destination unknown.
The path is not even,
At times smooth and joyful,
At times bumpy and with pitfalls,
At times energetic and boosting,
At times boring and sickening.
Imagine watching a newborn asleep or happily playing even when no one is around. There is a blissful calm and peace on its face, isn’t it? The little one is unaware of the world around her. Except for crying when hungry or sleepy, its world is blank, still, clear and beautiful. And then with growth, through the senses and their perceptions, comes the chaos that fills our mind.
The constant changes,
Of sweet surprises and defying deadlocks,
Make us tired and exhausted,
Leaving the mind in chaos.
Chaos of thoughts…of emotions…of questions…and then the dominant question is how to remove the chaos. There are those beautiful thoughts too, of all the excitement in our life, of our successes and happiness. When it’s not the extremes, it’s the day-to-day mundane tasks that occupy the mind. In short, the mind is never thoughtless and never quiet.
Interestingly, the eight hours of sleep is only resting the body and not the mind. With an overload of gadgets and the stress of everything else, the mind remains restless even in sleep. This eventually shows up as an effect on the body through illness. Fatigue, sleeplessness, and pain are not an effect of the body alone, but also of the mind that’s too worked up.
It’s time to transcend the chaos,
And learn to flow with the flow,
Enjoying the meadows and the drylands along the way,
With equanimity and composure.
Quietude. Silence. Meditation. Consciousness. Whatever the name and the ways, they all lead us to stillness. The stillness of the mind. A few moments of stillness every day take us closer to our inner self and the divinity within us.
Stillness is just resting the mind. It is about observing the thoughts and creating those pauses between the thoughts. It is about the progress from ‘pauses between the thoughts’ to ‘thoughts between the pauses’ and eventually to ‘thoughtlessness’. It doesn’t come naturally in the beginning. There are aids and tools to help us move towards stillness. With practice, it becomes easier and effortless.
Being still lets us ‘just be’. To be in the present moment, which is the reality. It calms the mind and takes it away from the worries of the past and the future. It is a state from which we begin to see things differently. We understand the vanity of the worries that we coax ourselves with.
Music is one of my regular tools to move into stillness. Pranayama and chanting a mantra are other ways to help reduce the thought traffic in the mind. To each his own, but the destination is the same for all: To dissolve in silence.
In the depth of stillness,
There are no rippling thoughts,
There’s no noise or chaos,
Like the calm of the seabed.
Stillness brings clarity. No problem can be solved with an agitated mind. Solutions emerge from that rested mind. We do advise our children while they are studying to be calm while taking exams to perform well. Yet, we tend to forget the same when life throws its challenges. Just let the mind settle into silence and feel how refreshed and relaxed it becomes.
In those still moments,
Unfolds a clearer view,
Of all that is and all that is not,
A new vision, a new perspective.
Stillness purifies us. The more we understand the value of the present, the more it helps us let go of all the negative emotions and cleanse our inner selves. When practiced long enough, our inner beauty begins to radiate into the world outside too.
With the renewed vision,
That emerges in our stillness,
We find our hold-on’s and the let-go’s,
To move farther and deeper, gracefully.
My favourite effect of stillness is the peace that it brings. Not the peace when everything is going right in life, but the peace that becomes a part of us no matter what we are surrounded with.
As the stillness deepens,
We realize the strength and power,
That’s within and without,
And carrying us through,
Every moment of our life.
These are just a few of the benefits of stillness that I have realized, and I am sure there are many more that I have yet to dive into.
I have been trying for years to get into prolonged stillness. Depending on the happenings in life, there have been phases where I have rejoiced in the beauty of stillness and phases where thoughts dominate the mind and silence becomes a struggle.
Music is one of my regular tools to move into stillness. Concentrated yogic breathing like pranayama, and chanting a mantra are other ways that also help in reducing the thought traffic in the mind. We need to try each of them and find what suits us the best. To each his own, but the destination is the same for all. To dissolve in silence.
I am enjoying my journey. I can see the peace and strength it’s giving me. I can see the difference it has made in my life, especially in tough phases. Am looking forward to seeing more beautiful things manifest in my life from the womb of stillness.
And finally, we hear the whisper in that stillness,
That says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’.
I have heard both my Guru and my mentor say often, “Good things should be made choiceless.” I believe ‘Being still’ for a few moments every day should be a choiceless state for everyone, to value and live life the way it is meant to be.
Photo courtesy Pawan Thapa/Unsplash