Practicing Stillness

"Stillness is the only thing in this world that has no form. But then, it is not really a thing, and it is not of this world." --Eckhart Tolle

Imagine how easy it must be for a monk who lives on a peaceful mountain to cultivate inner stillness when his meals are brought to him and his days are spent in the beauty of nature. But what about a life filled with job pressure, child rearing, relationship dramas, bills and illness? How does one find inner stillness there?

Formal meditation practice is a bit like learning to drive a car. By removing the distraction of other cars or structures, you can focus on the feel of the clutch, steering and braking all the same time. Going on back roads then the highway becomes more manageable. In time, you develop an unconscious ability to navigate challenging driving situations.


With formal meditation we intentionally place our busy mind and body on a chair or cushion and invite stillness. By bringing awareness inward, we train in non-doing. We witness the inner experience of thought patterns, emotional sensations and the roller coaster of each moment. We discover that stillness of mind can't be forced, but rather, it arises as the mind and body come into coherence with the simple experience of being.

Having the courage to stop doing, even for a few moments a day, begins to open space for the other dimension of reality to pierce the dual mind that is always moving from past to future. With practice, this stillness begins to find it's way to our activities and we discover the possibility of experiencing even the most chaotic moments of the day with a sense of creativity and spaciousness.

Like driving a stick shift in traffic, we can learn to move with ease and enjoy the ride instead of worrying about all the moving parts. Deepak Chopra, spiritual teacher, author and physician writes, "Stillness alone is the potentiality for creativity; movement alone is creativity restricted to a certain aspect of its expression. But the combination of movement and stillness enables you to unleash. your creativity in all directions-wherever the power of your attention takes you."

Cultivating a practice of combining formless with form (stillness with motion) is a gift of self-care that invites deep peace and true, sustainable connection to universal intelligence.

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