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in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Let Everything Drive You To Stillness

Understandably in these chaotic times it is easy to get caught up in a frenetic way of being: over-thinking, over-worrying, over-stressed and over-stimulated with the task of living – of making a living. I’ve gotten caught in this myself recently. It is easy to start trying to make things happen, to strive, to effort on all levels: physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and even spiritually. It’s tempting to try to find the “remedy” externally for what ails me inwardly - forgetting Stillness – that deep place of Knowing Awareness within - Beingness.

I have often heard the phrases, “It’s enough to drive you to drink”, and “It’s driving me crazy.” But what if we were to *allow* the strains and stresses, the frenzy and fret to drive us right into Stillness? Seems paradoxical when our minds have hijacked us and are spiraling out of control with fear and frustration, driving us to reach for any numbing agent, whether that’s a pill, a drink, a technique, a method, a religion, or a philosophy to calm our frayed nerves.

What if we were to let everything drive us to Stillness, the calm within the chaos, and let the Stillness be our refuge? What if we were aware enough to just stop in the midst of whatever we’re experiencing, in the middle of being hijacked by the mind, or life events, and drop into this internal, spacious Stillness? Gee, here are those themes again: stopping – awareness – Stillness. They are like new points on an old compass all pointing to – Presence. It’s a way of seeing that allows a returning to the point of Presence in this moment, no matter what is happening. But it’s not a one time discovery. It’s ongoing and continuing. You always carry the compass with you to remind you where you’re really going when you’ve momentarily lost your way.

Several years ago, when my husband experienced a serious mental health crisis, I was driven to Stillness. Each day, several times a day, I would stop what I was doing, go sit in my meditation space and “enter” (become aware of) the Stillness within for about 20 mins. There I felt cushioned and buffered from the storm that had nearly swept my husband away, and me with him. I would sit until I experienced the place of inner Quiet, inner Beingness where I could be still with what was, with what life was presenting. I would pray for my husband’s safe return to sanity, and be still enough to not spiral out of control myself. Inherently, it seemed, I knew that Stillness was my only survival.

My husband weathered his storm. In his own way he found Stillness, his inner Beingness, and came through the storm with an adjusted view of his world. Crises tend to do that… But he has a “new” compass, which, by the way, does not include the same points as mine, and is navigating a little differently now. We each have our own internal compass points that will take us there. For instance your compass points might be awareness – creativity - Stillness.

There have been many occasions where I have been driven to Stillness again and again when life, as I had been living it, became seemingly undoable, when I was frustrated with the way life was. Once again I was being driven by external, as well as internal emotional/mental forces, that had seemingly taken over and overwhelmed me, through non-acceptance, through resisting life as it is. And, I had lost touch with Stillness. Again and again I would just stop, go to my meditation space, lay on the floor for a prolonged period of time and consciously *wait* until I could feel the Stillness within, until I could sense the Stillness of Being, until I felt the touch of Stillness - entraining with the felt experience of Stillness. I allowed myself to sink into it through the layers of mental and emotional distraction. I could feel the frustration and resistance lift ever so slightly to reveal the underlying Stillness.

This did not mean that my external life situation changed. My life did not become miraculously better because of my rendezvous with Stillness. It did not mean that I was no longer frustrated, or angry, or anxious, or depressed, or whatever the feeling of the moment was. All the emotional elements were still there, but I was in touch with the still waters within, the pool of Stillness, the wellspring that feeds and nourishes me when I keep the currents of awareness open.

And my experience is that you don’t have to practice “formal meditation” to touch this space of Stillness, to become aware of Awareness. It’s more organic, more natural – like a natural emergence of the Stillness that is already there. Let that Stillness reveal itself and be the Dharma that calms you, feeds you, stills you…

So – if, like me, your life feels a little overwhelming, don’t let it drive you crazy with trying to change it, or figure it out, or worry about the future, or be angry with the past and being reactive to what is. Instead, take your new compass and drive yourself to Stillness. Sit there, stay there in Stillness, till you feel it touch you deeply and take you deeply into its depths. Bask in it. It will change your perspective on what life is handing you in any given moment.

It seems I need to spend a lot of time on the floor these days…in Dynamic Stillness. Want to join me?

Remember Stillness ~

Heart Smiles - MeANderi

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