Silence and stillness, more than just peace
November 27-28, 2014
We live every day running to the next, often oblivious to who and what are around us as we rush breathlessly from one more or less harrowing task to the other, from one solicitation to the other, from one obligation to the other. Seldom do we pause, take a step back and observe what we do, thrown as we are into the intense madness of the desire to do every day a little bit more, to top what we have done the day before and inspire what we will do the day after.
Sometimes there is a myriad of meanings and positive outcomes for others in what we do so we are encouraged in those endeavours and feel rewarded by them but sometimes we feel washed out after the work is done, like it meant nothing, like it was not meant to be carried out.
When you take the time while doing your daily tasks to observe those tasks, query your motives behind the carrying out of those tasks and challenge the outcome these tasks have in your life and the lives of others, you start to get the sense of a deeper understanding of whether those tasks are really necessary or not simply by being able to qualify whether they are useful or not and how that usefulness weighs against the effort it may cost you to carry out those tasks.
The more you engage in tasks that have very little use as compared to the effort they have required from you the more you feel washed out and somehow sad because intrinsically your mind has already captured, even without your examining it specifically, the imbalance between both. This is where the popular saying that you will excel and feel best replenished in carrying out tasks that are deriving from your passion takes all its meaning. Indeed, when carrying out a task which is connected to your passion, your mind is automatically analyzing and gratifying you with a huge positive balance because you love what you are doing and even if it is not useful to anyone else, it is useful to you because this is what you love doing and therefore the balance continues to remain positive.
Conversely, if you keep carrying out tasks which are connected with something you really don’t like doing, every time your mind tries to equate the balance, the result keeps coming up totally unfavourable. As an immediate result of this comes the desire to balance out the result by adding into this items that you might feel at some point will adjust the balance. Items like added free time, the liberty to carry out those tasks the way you want to do them, the greater impact the tasks may have upon others, the additional financial compensation that you require to adjust the balance, etc. Have you ever had that feeling of absolutely not liking your job and every now and then you had the feeling that you should receive an increase? That is simply your mind telling you that what you are doing is not fulfilling and that you must seek an alternate employment or the one you are in simply has to be more rewarding financially or in other ways. Why do finances come often into the picture when one is not happy carrying out the tasks related to the job one has chosen? Simply because additional money would allow you to do something else that you care about and that is satisfactory for you thereby restoring the balance.
Our minds and bodies naturally tend to desire equilibrium, a sense of fulfillment, a sense of peace. Often, when we tend to reach a level of anxiety due to the imbalance that is created by the inadequate meeting between the tasks we carry out and the rewards they have (whatever form those rewards may be shaped in), we resort to silence and stillness in order to achieve that peace our bodies and minds crave. When we start delving into that inner world of silence and stillness, the outer world slowly fades away in its actual form and we start seeing only the connecting factors. To my mind, this part of what silence and stillness opens up for us is the most important part. If we are honest enough and open enough to our inner world, we are able to reach within ourselves and truly understand everything within as well as how it connects to that without.
Silence, the true version of it – and not the one populated with the deafening thoughts we may have about our daily chores or tasks which actually equates to those tasks and chores themselves – is what allows us to fully reach an understanding of ourselves, our motives, our fears, our hopes, our desires, our darkest recesses and inner light. Stillness, is a prerequisite for that full-fledged silence as it entails an absence of movement as well as an absence of thought.
Paradoxically, stillness can also be attained by the full movement when like in a state of trance a dancer is totally immersed into the music and the mind dissociates from the present moment to observe itself and the world around it with detachment and wisdom. Such stillness can be obtained for example when accomplishing Sufi whirling after some time goes by in the whirling. Believe it or not, such stillness within can also be reached when dancing on trance music but disconnecting from the music at the point of attaining exhaustion level (if you are a running athlete, you will understand this fully because it is the point where you think you cannot go on but suddenly with your will, you find an additional resource to carry on running and then the energy flows with your mind actually going blank) leaving your mind in the vibration of absence of thought and therefore in stillness.
Once you are used to reaching the points of silence and stillness using a concentrated effort and you practise this often, you are then able to call upon those patterns to reach punctually moments of silence and stillness within your daily life in order to reassess what you are doing, to examine how this will affect your life and that of others and evaluate whether it is really a necessary task. As you get better at achieving this, you start developing foresight and are able to quickly define that a given task is simply not going to be rewarding enough and are then able to rule it out altogether and save yourself and possibly others an unnecessary element. This will also allow you to dedicate more time to the tasks that matter and ultimately this will lead you to carrying out a profession that matters to you and that brings to your life a sense of joy, peace and fulfillment.
In a world where people can be pushed to the edge because of the surrounding stress caused by delving into unnecessary tasks, silence and stillness take on an added layer of importance. They are actually vital for survival. This does not mean, however, that we are meant to live like hermits, isolated from the world and immersed into silence for we are in this world to feel, experience, make mistakes, correct them and heal in every possible way. It only means that we have to love and respect ourselves enough to grasp the importance of understanding ourselves and respecting our inner choices and desires and therefore we have to be able to find the time for silence and stillness.
A few thoughts above that I hope will be meaningful for those who are reading. To conclude I’d like to share my motto when thinking about a task which is inspired from the Rotary motto: “Is it useful? Does its usefulness outweigh its efforts? Will it help me and others once only or can it be expanded? How will it help create a better world?”
I will leave you now with a beautiful melody by Vargo which speaks of silence and stillness and that I had looked for on youtube. There were many youtube posts and one that I liked particularly unfortunately had one negative post within the video so I chose another you will be able to watch below.
Love and light to all