“I find it impossible to meditate, because I can’t sit still!”
“Being still and doing nothing is boring…and exhausting.”
“To me, stillness feels kind of scary.”
These are comments I’ve heard from those who are new to the concept of practicing mindful awareness.
Practicing stillness can feel foreign and awkward at first. We are conditioned to believe we should be busy, doing, going, and getting stuff done. When we look out into our world, we see people racing here and there, always striving for the next bigger, better, more experience. We are often struggling to keep up with the pace of our daily lives.
Unfortunately, the moment we attempt to stop, take a breath, and focus on our inner experience we are bombarded with mind chatter. The voice of our inner critic starts to get louder and nastier. All the memories, worries, and stuff we work so hard to suppress rush in, refusing to be ignored. Every inch of our bodies starts to feel itchy and uncomfortable, keeping us constantly on the move to scratch and readjust.
Then one day something else happens…if we continue to show up and practice, we experience a moment of silence and calmness. Our exhale becomes a sigh and we become fully aware and present in the moment. From this place of quiet presence, we can allow ourselves to soften, release, and let go of what we were clenching, protecting, and pushing down. In the stillness there is clarity, understanding, and inner knowing.
With practice, we become aware of our thoughts, without judging them good/bad, right/wrong. We become aware of our subtle body sensations and learn to understand the language of our inner workings – our nervous system, memories, thoughts, and emotions. And we begin to hear the soft, quiet voice of our intuition and inner guidance.
We can cultivate stillness by purposely turning inward and exploring the experience of being aware. We can learn to sit with difficult thoughts and emotions that may arise. We can learn to ‘be still and know’ and trust our awareness.
“Silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Plumas Rural Services is a Northeastern California community based, non-profit organization providing services and opportunities for the well being of local residents and families to improve quality of life and self sufficiency by promoting health, education, prevention and treatment.