Yet, beneath the crashing waves, the dark depths of the ocean offer a place of profound stillness, some distance from the surface turbulence. Similarly, deep within each of us, at the core, there is stillness available. The trick is to find it. Once we’ve found it, we only need to return there, time and again.
In this space, receive and allow yourself to be nourished and fed. Life continues at its frenetic pace, but you can find your own agency within it. In this space, feel both your separateness and your connection with others - not splitting off, but coexisting, maintaining your own steadiness, even in the waves. We become fluid ourselves as we flow with life a bit more smoothly, grounded and solid in the knowing, the sensation of our own body.
In the Stillness
In the stillness
the answers come,
truths are unearthed,
In the stillness
prayers are answered,
hearts are restored,
In the stillness
the oneness becomes clear,
connection to self deepens,
universal threads intertwine.
In the stillness
the magic lies
waiting for you to visit
and reside here,
for however many moments.
© Barb Klein, 2016, from 111 Invitations: Step into the Full Richness of Life
What do you think? What does stillness offer you? What might become possible or evident if you took the time to find some quiet, some space?
Lao Tzu asks, “Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mind settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?”
Such a great and powerful reminder to get out of the chaotic spin, the tendency to react and jump into action without even having fully formed thoughts or ideas about what would be wise, skillful, or helpful to you, to the other, or to the situation.
Patience - they say it’s a virtue, and I suppose that’s true. Yet when we’re confronted with urgency, it can be terribly hard to access. Taking a pause. Finding our place of internal stillness helps.
What helps us get to that rich place of stillness? Pausing. Gathering ourselves up in our own loving presence. Granting ourselves grace, stepping back, stepping away before needing to take any action at all. Remembering that rarely anything good comes from the instantaneous fight, flight, freeze, or facade response.
It’s far better to slow things down, find our bearings by finding ourselves in this moment - take stock through our senses. Notice what we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel in this space. Awareness anchors us into the present moment. In that moment we can find and claim the stillness, remembering that even in a hurricane, there is the center of the storm, the eye that is relatively untouched by the raging winds. When the storms of life are raging, take yourself to the eye. Find yourself standing firm in the strength of who you are… not rigid, but strong and supple, able to bend and flow as the willow does. Bending, but not breaking because you are allowing the storm to happen around you, choosing not to step into it or resist it.
In the stillness, close your eyes, touch your heart, and ask the most important question: What do I need in this moment? Allow yourself permission to ask, knowing that your needs matter. Allow the answers to come. Allow yourself to hear, even if it’s uncomfortable. And then, from this grounded stance, begin to get curious about the ways you might be able to tend to whatever needs arise. What could you try? Who could you ask for help? What can you let go of? Is there anything here that is not yours? What can you turn over to someone else or to God or the Universe? Are you trying to carry too much? What can you put down, dear one?
In the stillness, take stock again. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell now? Have your senses opened? Perhaps now you hear the bird song that wasn’t there in the crashing waves of panic. Maybe your eyes have softened to notice the yellow wren swinging on the feeder or the warmth of your lamp or even the light within the mostly grey sky. Maybe your heart and breath have slowed a bit. Maybe. Maybe not. What’s true for you?
The stillness offers us, invites us, into intimacy with our heart and soul. The stillness washes over us, enveloping us like a warm bath. The stillness opens our hearts and minds to fresh possibility - to see what wasn’t there before. To try something maybe we’ve never done before. Stillness offers spacious room to breathe, to stretch, to grow.
Stillness reminds us we do not have to rush, and that when we let go of the rushing, we are far better equipped to face whatever challenges await. It doesn’t take long for this medicine to work its magic. For it’s not really magic at all. It is the natural way of being - the essence of who we are. All the outer busyness and craziness - that’s conditioning, learned behavior from our society. The sense that we must be on or available all the time, that we must respond in an instant - that’s nonsense. It makes no sense except when there is an immediate danger, which is fairly rare.
There’s almost always more time than we think, and if we allow ourselves even a few moments of pause, of quiet, of stillness, what will emerge is so much richer, wiser, skillful, effective, supportive, helpful. So much more likely to be grounded in who we are and what we believe in. So much more aligned with what really matters to us. So much more likely to lead to fewer mistake and fewer regrets.
Let’s dive beneath the surface to tap into this deep anchoring of still, quiet nourishment. Imagine what could be if we all did that a little more often. Imagine a world grounded in stillness before action.
Please enjoy Leah Kent's beautiful guided meditation, Anchored Stillness, as a support toward finding your own stillness in this moment. Leah Kent is a book coach and author who helps wisdom keepers and visionaries write and publish transformational books about their work in the world. She’s the creator of the Wild Embodied Writing method, and the author of Awakening the Visionary Voice. To learn more, visit leahkent.net or connect with Leah on Instagram @leahkentco