Written by Tyler Greenberg of Meditate Life, meditatelife.org
People often ask about stillness in meditation. The most common problem I see is that people think that stillness in meditation means just sitting still. That isn’t completely wrong, stillness does include sitting still, but it is much more than that. Besides being physically still, stillness refers to the stillness in your head.
Stillness is not emptiness. When you are still, you may continue to have thoughts. Your brain naturally creates ideas and recalls memories, but your participation in them is voluntary. It is like sitting at the edge of a pond. The water is your memories and thoughts. The water is there, and you can’t change that, but it is still until you drag your hand through the water. That is when it creates waves. You can sit at the edge of the pond and observe the water peacefully without disturbing it. That is stillness.
Sometimes these thoughts become too tempting and you engage in them. There is nothing wrong with that. The waves it creates will eventually settle down and there will be stillness again. However, you can learn from this disruption. You can think about what distracted you and why it did. These are some of the parts of meditation that you can take away and use in your everyday life.
At first, you might find the stillness unnerving. It takes a while to get used to, but once you do, you will be able to appreciate it. In the beginning, the stillness feels like something is wrong. You are so used to your busy mind that when it settles down, you automatically think it is a mistake. Accept this stillness as a good thing and relax.
Stillness is a fantastic benefit of meditation because it opens you up to the world around you. When you are not distracted by the commotion inside you, it is easier to see everything else. You get so caught up in your thoughts that you don’t notice the world outside your head. For example, I was on my way to work the other day and realized just how beautiful the drive is. I am always so caught up in my thoughts about the day ahead that I don’t pay attention to the world around me. I always knew that it was there, but I never had the capacity to observe it.
Take the time to find stillness in your meditation. You will be able to appreciate everything else in life even more. You will see the beauty in the world around you and feel peace.
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